Hey, Fletch: How Can We Have Healthy, Honest Meetings?
Understand what a ‘four-wall discussion’ means.
Hey, Fletch: How Can We Have Healthy, Honest Meetings?
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In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

I’ve heard you use the term “four-wall discussions.” Could you define that for me?

I call certain meetings “four-wall discussions” to signify that what is said should stay in the four walls of the room. A profane equivalent is “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Here is what you do with a church team: Lay out the ground rules that every comment is fair game in the discussion. In a four-wall discussion, people can vent. They can share insecurities and pain. They can be “wrong” on an issue. Team members can explore orthodox and unusual options. If you can’t do that with a trusted team, who can you talk with?

When someone crosses the line and harsh words are spoken, amends need to be made. Often after a meeting, I have seen a team member go to another and bring gentle confrontation. At the next team meeting, the offender makes an apology—and the team is healthier. That is a four-wall discussion at work.

Nothing is final until the team hears the words “decision made.” Then, everyone needs to support that decision.

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