Are the meetings you must attend restful?
Is “rest” a word you would normally associate with “meetings”?
Most of us moan and groan when we ponder the next meeting we have to attend.
Meetings, whether at work or at church, often seem to drain us of all energy. We can’t wait for them to be over. And, in today’s world, many people respond by not-so-secretly using their smart-phone to get some “real work done” and to “connect with the outside world.”
There has to be a better way.
For two decades, I’ve followed the R-E-S-T model of making meetings meaningful.
Last night, we had a two-hour Elder Ministry Team meeting for Cornerstone Community Church. Ask any of our elders and you will learn that those two hours flew by!
And, we left “rested and restful.”
What is R-E-S-T?
R: Relationship Building
We started the meeting, as we do every meeting, with time devoted to building relationships (30 minutes in our case). We focused on building relationships with God (worship, prayer, praise) and with each other (encouragement, fellowship, accountability).
We discussed the fact that our Elder Ministry Team must be a model for our entire church of healthy relationships with God and others. That’s the Matthew 22:35-40 purpose statement of Christ—to love God and one another.
How would your meetings change if you focused on relationships?
I know, you say, “But this is not a small group meeting, this is a ‘business meeting.’”
Why? Who says?
Why can’t you do the “business of the church” in the context of a “relational small group”? Who says you can’t have one without the other?
Think outside the box. Relate outside the box.
How can we oversee the ministry of the church apart from the context of relating well to God and one another?
E: Equipping One Another
We then spent the next 45 minutes in mutual equipping. For us, it meant a joint, collaborative Bible study of what the Bible says about being an elder. This was the first of what will likely be at least a six-part study together.
How novel! A group of elders studying together what the Bible says about being an elder!
However, that just happens to be our current equipping time. In six months, we’ll start a new mutual equipping time. We will never meet together as leaders in God’s church without devoting a portion of our time to mutual equipping.
How can we fulfill our calling to equip God’s people for the work of the ministry if we are not mutually equipping one another?
Some of my “Type A” readers are likely fighting spasms right now! “But there are decisions to make, visions to cast, work to be done!”
Yep, that’s the third part of our meeting—strategizing.
It’s the part that most church ministry teams spend their entire meeting on. You spend two hours debating whether the carpet should be cleaned by an outside company or by a group of church volunteers.
We don’t spend (waste) our meetings like that.
By focusing first on relationship building (with God and one another) and by focusing second on equipping one another, we enter our strategizing time energized, effective, and efficient.
We then can focus on “organizing the organism”—bringing wise oversight to the work of the ministry by balancing spontaneity and structure, people and tasks.
We devoted 35 minutes to this feature. I can hear it now, “What!? Just 35 minutes to oversee the work of the church!?”
Wait, are you telling me that relating to God and one another is not the work of the church? Are you telling me that equipping one another is not the work of the church?
Plus…in those 35 minutes we covered 9 important areas of our church ministry—effectively and efficiently. Each of us came prepared with focused updates/reports/ideas. We knew ahead of time which area we would each oversee (no one person dominates our meetings). And we engaged in focused, collaborative discussions about those ministries.
T: Taking Action
The final aspect of our meeting is one reason our strategizing time is so effective and efficient. We give the last 10 minutes of our meeting to taking action.
We decide together what the next steps are. We decide together who is responsible for overseeing which next step. In this way, a lot of good work gets done in between meetings.
In far too many churches, far too many meetings end with good ideas that go nowhere.
That’s because there is not a taking action time.
Our meeting ended with our elder ministry team rested.
But even more than that, our meeting ended with each of us energized—ready to take action in overseeing the equipping of God’s people to do God’s work in God’s kingdom.
Let’s Get Some “Rest” by Having a Meeting
Normally, we would never make that statement, would we? “Let’s get some ‘rest’ by having a meeting.”
The phrase, “restful meetings” does not have to be an oxymoron.
“Rest” and “meetings” can and should go hand-in-hand.
Ministry teams can and should become small groups. Ministry meetings can become small group meetings where everyone leaves rested and energized.
Join the Conversation
How could the R-E-S-T model of meetings change how you view meetings?
How could the R-E-S-T model of meetings change the effectiveness and efficiency of your meetings?
RPM Ministries: Equipping You to Change Lives with Christ’s Changeless Truth