In this regular 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You gave us some great suggestions on ways we can fix board meetings that run too long. The idea of providing a written report to the board could be significant for us. Can you give a little more of the rationale? I have some elders who want more information.
I call the thinking behind the written board report, “Give, Cut, and Enable.” These are three things that you can do to help the board be more efficient. When I say “efficient,” I don’t just mean shorter meetings, but also more spiritually productive meetings.
Give the Governing Board members information on every major aspect of ministry. Monthly present three to five pages of XP Notes with substantial ministry information. Give unvarnished information. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Be gracious and kind, yet hold nothing back. Set an atmosphere of if something is not mentioned then it was an honest mistake and not a political ploy. Set the standard that the XP Notes are confidential and should not be shared with others.
Cut the Board agenda time by not discussing most of the items in the XP Notes. Encourage individuals to contact the Executive Pastor with questions before the meeting. Spend as much time as needed with a board member before the meeting to answer their questions. This will cut rabbit trails of board members during the meeting. If two or more people have questions on a particular item, the XP can ask the Chair to add the item to the agenda for full board discussion. Work with the Chair to adhere to this principle.
Enable the board to fly higher than tactical issues in the meeting by sharing the XP Notes in advance of the meeting. Enable the board members to focus on vision and strategy. Enable the board meeting to have time to pray longer on vital issues.
For more help with church board meetings, check out the free article “How to Keep Your Meetings Short,” and Board Basics for Churches , a downloadable resource.