Monday, March 18, 2013

A New Approach to Church Council

At my suburban church, we're trying a new approach to Church Council.  We've been doing Church Council the way that I'd guess 75% of churches do it:  we've been meeting once a month.  We approve reports and minutes, we discuss old business, and we discuss new business.

We've tried to infuse meaning by opening with Bible Study.  We've tried having periodic retreats to get to know each other better.  These things worked, but the meeting itself was still stultifying.

Now we will meet every other month over a meal.  We will invite everyone to the meal, but we'll extend a special invitation to the leaders of various church ministries.  Hopefully, we'll have both fellowship and cross polination.  Hopefully we'll all stay better informed about what each group is doing.

We also divided ourselves into 3 teams.  One team will look at budget issues.  One team will oversee our visioning the future process that we're also launching.  One team will look at personnel and process issues.  The teams will meet outside of our meetings that will take place over meals.

For a variety of reasons, I love the idea of meeting over a meal.    The most simple reason:  I get dinner at the same time I have a meeting.  It feels efficient.  I don't have to get home, gulp down a meal, and race off to a meeting.

I also love it because I think we relate better to each other when we have a chance to relax and eat together.  There's something about a meal that defuses anxiety and tension.

If it's good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.  Jesus came to show us how to live our best lives as humans.  We don't see Jesus and his followers discussing old business and new business and approving the minutes of the last meeting.

No, we see them eating together and figuring out creative ways to feed the crowds and retiring to people's houses for dinner and then doing it all again the next week.

We are a church, albeit a small one, and we often operate more like a corporation than a people of faith.  I'm hoping that having a meal together will remind us of our true purpose.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Some of us have dinner together before our Session (council) meetings. It's not mandatory, and not everyone makes it, and we don't do the work over dinner, but it helps us come together as a group.

One of my frustrations with the way we do work is that it seems splintered. Each committee is doing its own thing, and we are all supposed to read each other's minutes, but there isn't fabulous communication between committees. I wonder if your experiment will help that feel?