High Leverage High Intensity Meetings

Transitional Ministry, like any pastoral role, often requires leading or participating in high leverage, high intensity meetings. This was one of the subjects of discussion at our June 2018 TPN gathering. Here is a summary of the pooled wisdom.
Preparation:
  • Scripts for key points you want to make
  • Advance prayer
  • Prepare yourself to be a “non-anxious presence”. How? Spending time in relevant scripture in advance of the meeting as well as personal prayer. Ensure that you are in a place of being Spirit-directed.
  • Two-tier the meeting: If there are toxic possibilities, have a prior sub-meeting to deliver info. Consider meeting in smaller groups prior to the larger group meeting.
  • Know why you are having a meeting: Make sure it’s clear in your heard and communicated well to attendees in advance. Include “what this meeting is NOT about”.
  • High intensity meetings should have one primary agenda item
  • Tied to the above point, make it safe for people who are conflict-averse.
  • Review the membership list in advance to ensure no one is on it who should have been removed. Expect “in-actives” to show up for critical meetings
  • Decide on chair or co-chair roles. Identify who the best chair will be for that specific context. It may not be the usual chair of such meetings for a given church. It may be the transitional pastor or a neutral 3rd party
  • Provide childcare and meet at at time conducive to all demographics in the church
  • Write out ideal “dream” outcomes in advance.
  • Set a timeline for the meeting that creates a gentle sense of urgency
  • Thoughtful room setup, clear slides if powerpoint is used
Execution:
  • Explain that people are to address the chair, who has been clearly empowered to lead the meeting
  • Insist on one speaker at a time, a dispassionate tone of voice, non-personal statements, no eye-rolling
  • Ensure good record keeping of the discussion and decisions
  • Everyone who wants to talk talks before anyone talks twice
  • Al Simpson principles: Purpose, process, communication standards
  • Deal with the hurt vs the person
  • Chair re-states the purpose initially and as needed, sets the tone, takes responsibility
  • Pray for awareness and self-awareness in the moment
  • Dance vs pushing for a set outcome
  • Take a break if/when it gets tense
  • Debrief at end of meeting with all present and/or leadership
  • Get a variety of people to answer questions, not just you
Bad Behaviour:
  • Don’t allow new agenda items or personal attacks
  • Be prepared to deal with these directly and forcefully
  • Address murmuring very directly as needed
  • Consider using a talking stick
  • Ask for phones to be turned off, no texting, recording or posting to social media to happen during the meeting
  • Rein in those who may try to dominate the meeting
  • Remind them of the rules for the meeting, which they have all agreed to at the start
  • Remind people that their statements are in their opinion vs global opinions or universal truths
Understand and communicate that a business meeting is a spiritual activity with biblical precedents and examples.

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