Peggy Post, author for the Emily Post Institute, states, “The basic principles of etiquette -- respect, consideration, and honesty -- apply to everything we do both personally and professionally.” Those principles are just as valuable in a church meeting as a corporate board meeting. Though the subject matter may be different, conducting church business is no less spiritual than teaching a Bible study or giving a sermon. Facilitators and attendees should come to the table with mutual respect and consideration for others.
A church meeting facilitator, whether a pastor or lay person, can set the overall tone that everyone is on the same team and working toward the same goal of honoring God. Have everyone turn off their cell phones, or set them to silent. If necessary, remind everyone, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” according to Colossians 3:23. Remind those in attendance that information discussed should be considered confidential.
Meetings can easily drag on when people are sidetracked or long-winded. Being mindful to begin and end the meeting on time demonstrates that you value everyone’s time. If the meeting is going to be a long one, schedule breaks to ensure everyone’s comfort. Five to 10 minutes is plenty of time to run to the bathroom or stretch your legs.
The person leading a church meeting should always be prepared, setting the tone for a productive work environment. Each attendee should also come prepared to contribute, having done her research and ready to participate and share her knowledge and opinions. Each attendee's preparation and organization shows respect for the other attendees.
Value each person’s opinion, giving each one a chance to speak and be heard, and limit side conversations to keep the meeting moving forward. Never embarrass an attendee during a meeting. If you must confront someone about his conduct during the meeting, do it privately during a break or after the meeting. Give specific examples of his disruption along with suggestions to remedy the problem.
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