We took our monthly committee meeting agenda down to the studs. The last 12 months have seen the gradual assembly of an infrastructure supported by reports of activity, both immediately past and upcoming, given mostly by staff, met mostly by nodding heads.
So last night we experimented with skipping the reports. I asked at the beginning for programs, events, or planning committee members wanted to hear about and discuss, and those got added to the agenda. Otherwise, we did a check-in, a warmup activity, a theoretical discussion about a particular element of our youth ministry work, and then two planning items.
The meeting still took as long, but there was much more interaction, and I came away with a useful list of actions that both staff and committee members resolved to take on specific projects. The reporting needs to happen in the future, perhaps as a single printed item, like we do with a financial report. But using committee members’ time to mostly listen to staff talk about programs needs to stop. Engaging them in planning and strategy is the way to go.
It only took me 12 months to figure that out.