Let’s face it—most of us don’t like meetings. You know, the kind that have an agenda (allegedly), where there’s more engaging conversation about last night’s ballgame than strategizing, and where decisions typically get “tabled” until the next meeting. You’ve been there. And, let’s be honest, you don’t enjoy them any more than I do.
The question is does your disdain for these sorts of meetings negatively impact your level of engagement and participation in your weekly small group meeting? If you’re frustrated with a string of boring get-nowhere meetings, here are two quick tips to make sure your small group doesn’t suffer the same fate:
1. Have a Plan
Whatever sort of meeting you’re involved with—work-related, PTO, baseball coaching—things go more smoothly if there is a specified plan. Your small group gathering is no different.
People like to know what they can expect when they get together. They like to know what the focus will be for the next hour and a half of their lives. As a leader, it’s your job to communicate your plans for the evening as soon as you have everyone’s attention.
This helps everyone feel at ease that there are no surprises—and gives them the opportunity to prepare their mind and heart for what comes next.
You don’t need an official agenda, but clarifying a plan at the beginning can make a big difference.
2. Lead with Respect
We’ve all been in meetings where the leader/facilitator clearly did not have much respect for you or your time. They don’t say it, and it’s not an intentional thing, but they lead their meeting without a specific plan. They often toss in a joke here and a rabbit-trail conversation there. (Sometimes, this is needed to loosen people up a bit, but more often than not, it’s due to a lack of concern for others.)
This is the sort of thing that makes people not want to return to your group each week.
So the recommendation is to lead your small group meeting with intentionality and purpose. Lead with a sense of urgency. Lead with a sense of meaning and purpose and focus. Not rushed, of course, but with a goal in mind. That goal might be an evening of prayer, an in-depth study time, or the sharing of each other’s stories. Whatever the goal is, it’s your responsibility as a leader/facilitator to guide your group down the right path.
Getting bogged down in trivial things will slow your group’s progress and frustrate group members. Try not to recreate the disdain they have for corporate and PTO meetings in your small group. Instead, lead your group with respect for people’s time and concerns.