Another short meeting of the Church Council last night. We usually get through all our monthly business in about half an hour. I've noticed that some people are uncomfortable with this. When the motion to adjourn comes, they want to keep talking -- not about business, but about who's in the hospital, etc. I think this comes from a sense that they didn't really "have a meeting," because it didn't last at least an hour.
This amuses me. Maybe I need to ask the Chair to start the meeting with devotions again, like we used to do. Or maybe go around the table and talk about some ministry-related thought. Anything to fill 15-20 minutes, so everybody leaves with a feeling that the meeting was worth coming out for.
And why are our Council meetings so short? I've thought about this, and these are my ideas.
1. I don't initiate a lot of new business. In many congregations, the pastor's always got some new, "let's-all-do-this-next" idea to spring on the leadership, which has got to be sold to them, and dissected by them, and planned by them.
2. Since the pastor isn't bringing a lot of new stuff to the Council, people don't feel the need to come prepared with "buyer's resistance." We don't argue over small things out of sheer stubbornness -- a common condition in parishes where people elect leaders to protect them from being busied to death by the clergy.
3. Our committees do pretty good work. Most of the stuff they bring to the Council is in the form of reports and calendar dates, not open-ended requests for consideration.
The end of all this is, our Council is not asked to do much work as a Committee of the Whole; whereas, in many parishes I have served in, most
of the Council's time was spent acting in that fashion.
I'm all for the way we do things. Maybe a little informal time to make it worth everyone's while to attend would be in order, but I just hate dragging out of a two-three hour meeting with the feeling that lots of important stuff didn't get done (an all-too-common experience in all forms of volunteer work, I'm afraid).
Yay! for us.