Tag: meeting

The 5 Cs of a Catalytic Leadership Meeting

Meetings are a part of our lives. They’re inevitable. If you work, volunteer, or just live life, you’re going to be meeting with people.

I serve as a pastor, which might make you think I work one day/week. And if that’s what you think…you’d be wrong. I lead meetings with the team I serve, and with the volunteer team that I build in to. I’m a part of meetings every single day. And if you’re a leader, you’re often organizing, planning, inviting, and facilitating meetings, too. Multiple ones every week. Sometimes, multiple ones each day.

I don’t have time for meaningless meetings. Neither do you. I don’t want more meetings for the sake of meetings. I want meetings to be purposeful, and take us somewhere. I want action items. I want vision. I want inspiration. I want connection.

Here are a few vitals you need to keep in mind if you lead leaders. If you lead followers, maybe there are some principles in here you can skip. But if you want to lead leaders well, you’ve got to keep these things in mind.

The 5 Cs of Leadership Meetings


Always have an agenda. Know what you need to report out on since the last meeting, or since the last project began/completed. Make sure everyone is clear on where you’re at, and where the meeting is headed. This is also the chance to honor the work you put in to the last meeting, and not overlook celebrating what was done, and filling in the holes of what still needs to be finished. Meetings aren’t just about the new and shiny objects you’ve got in front of you. They’re about making sure you did what you said you’d do last time.

If you skip this step, the meeting will feel scattered.

Cast vision

Why are you having this meeting? Where is your team headed? What’s coming up? What goals are you driving towards? Make sure you paint a big picture, and not just jump to the tactical, logistical side of leadership. If you overlook this step, you’ll create a bunch of worker bees that burn out.

If you skip this step, leaders will dry up. 

Create action steps

This is the part where assignments are made, and the vision begins to take shape. Give deadlines, specific roles, and accountability. People should always leave a meeting knowing what the expectations are. I’m also of the opinion that everyone should leave with “homework,” objectives to complete before the next time you meet. This helps keep meetings from becoming a “we’re just meeting because we’ve always met,” focusing them around the idea that there’s work to get done, and we each have a hand in accomplishing our vision.

If you skip this step, your team will never feel like they’re going anywhere.


It’s easy for the above to feel tactical. Make sure you give space for leaders to share a bit of what’s going on in their lives. You know what I know about leaders? They lead everywhere they go. Oftentimes, they “don’t have time” to care for their soul, and those they lead sure don’t pick up that banner. If leadership is about serving others, this is vital to a thriving team.

If you skip this step, your team will feel like you’re only for their productivity, and not for them as a person.


I mean, come on. You can’t have a meeting without coffee. The principle is this: serve them something. Provide a snack. Water. Coffee. Tea. This helps people feel engaged, loved, served, and cared for.  And it gives them something to do in those awkward pre-meeting-what-do-I-talk-about-I-don’t-know-so-I’ll-just-drink-this-coffee moments.

If you skip this step, people will fall asleep.
Any meetings vitals you’d add?

10 meeting rules every pastor should live by

We pastors have a lot of meetings. A lot.


image credit: flickr user universityymca

I should’ve included “How to lead meetings” in my list of things I wish seminary had taught me. Meetings end up eating the majority of many of my ministry days. Whether I’m meeting with current small group leaders, potential coaches, ministry team members, or random church members, I’m in meetings hours and hours each week.

I love people, which means that I don’t hate meetings. But I also value my time and theirs, and don’t want to waste my days and my life in pointless meetings. Throughout the 7 years or so I’ve been a pastor, I’ve learned a few things about meetings that may help save you some headaches.

10 Meeting Rules Every Pastor Should Live By

1. Always bring a notepad.

If you come without something to write on, it shows that you don’t really care about that meeting. If it were more important, you’d have something to jot notes down on.

2. Buying someone a cup of coffee makes them more likely to agree to lead a small group.

Call this a bit of manipulation if you want, but it works.

3. Always be on time.

I used to try to be early to every meeting, but I found that 10 extra minutes here or there was adding up. And that 10 extra minutes here or there that I recaptured helped me get caught up on email, make that phone call I hadn’t yet, or put the finishing touches on a project made those few minutes valuable to me. Be on time, and don’t shoot to be super early.

4. Make the sale in person.

If you’re going to recruit someone to lead a small group, or some key role, don’t do it over email. Don’t do it over the phone, or by text message. Make the ask in person.

5. Make meetings count.

People’s time is valuable…yours included. If you’re going to meet with someone, plan on recruiting them for something. Or pitching an idea their way. Or invest in them spiritually. Or something. Make a decision at every meeting you lead. Never walk out of a meeting with your only takeaway being “let’s meet again and decide ____.”

6. Don’t go in to a meeting blindly.

If you can help it, always know what you’re walking in to. Get a general understanding before you meet with someone.

7. Never meet alone.

Either bring along a leader you’re investing in and/or meet with multiple leaders at once. Relationships are key to leadership, and when you have more than one person at the table, relationships can be fostered.

8. Keep a to-do list handy at all times.

Don’t use napkins or the backs of receipts. You’ll lose them. Use a to-do list on your phone. I like Wunderlist and Things.

9. Check your email before you leave the house in the morning.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up for an 8:00 meeting, only to realize that they emailed me the night before to tell me they couldn’t meet.

10. Shut it down.

I’ve got to shut things down when I get home. When I began in ministry, it consumed my life and my family. I’m getting better at shutting off, but I’m still a work-in-progress. Meetings and people are important, but so is your family. And so is your personal time. If you don’t recharge, you’ll have nothing to give in meetings.


Do you ever feel like your life is just one meeting after another?



Operate like a Pro

Whether you’re a professional or not, you can operate like one.

I meet with people a lot.  A whole lot!

Invariably, lots of folks have to reschedule.  And I love it when they let me know beforehand.

I was supposed to meet with Rick Howerton today in Nashville (about a 45 minute drive from Clarksville, where I live).  It’s well worth the drive to meet with Rick…except if he’s sick, and can’t make the meeting.

So Rick cancelled on me…two hours before we were supposed to meet.

Rick, being the pro of all pros, went to extraordinary lengths to get me the message.

  • At 6:25, I got a Twitter Direct Message from him.
  • Just a few minutes later, I had a Facebook message from him.
  • Followed by an email.
  • Then I got an email from Karen, a staff member here at Grace, saying Rick had emailed the church office to let me know he couldn’t make it.
  • Then I got a text from Karen, saying the same thing.
  • The I get a call from my mom, saying that this guy, Rick, had called the house (not sure how he got my parent’s house number, but I guess ninjas have their secrets), and that he can’t make the meeting with me this morning.
  • Then I notice that Rick’s put out a blast to everybody on Twitter asking if anybody knows how to get in touch with me.

So, to sum it all up…I got the message.  Thanks Rick.

You may not be a “professional,” but you can operate like one…and we, as followers of Christ, should be careful to do just that.  I firmly believe that not keeping our commitments, and being flippant with our responsibilities, is dishonoring to God and is a violation of the 9th commandment:

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

If you’ve got to cancel a meeting, that’s fine.  Do it the professional way.

Do it the “Rick Howerton way.”


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