Convening and hosting an ineffective meeting, or presenting an inadequate proposal, is poor stewardship.

Here is a helpful checklist from David Pearl, author of Will There Be Donuts? Better Business One Meeting at a Time (forthcoming from HarperCollins in October).

First thing to check is…

Does this topic/issue require “a meeting” or could you simply meet?  

If the answer is yes, check…

Why are we meeting?  

If you’re satisfied, check…

Are the right people meeting – given the intent – and only them?

If you’re all present, check…

Who is leading this meeting? 

If you are leading, check…

Are you stressing yourself by trying to run the agenda, keep time, take notes, direct the conversation all at the same time?

If you are listening, check…

Are you listening to . . .  “the quiet voices”? 

If everyone is fully engaged, check…

Are you being over-ambitious about timings?

If you’ve jettisoned all the excess baggage, check…

Are you mixing meeting types?

For an explanation of each point, read the whole thing.

For elders seeking to lead effective elder meetings, Alexander Strauch has written a whole book on the subject.

Also worth reading is John Piper’s brief paper on “Guidelines for Leading Leadership in Major Decisions.”

Here is an outline of his recommendations:

1. Pray without ceasing.

2. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.

3. Gather true information related to the proposal.

4. Think through as many implications of the proposal as possible.

5. Write the proposal including a coherent and orderly presentation of the proposal, an explanation of it, the implications, and the rationale.

  • First, state the proposal clearly and briefly in a few sentences.
  • Second, explain the proposal. That is, unpack its terms and make sure that it is clear.
  • Third, spell out the implications: people involved, time commitments, expenses, effects on present practices and people, etc. Foresee and state fairly and answer as many objections as you can.
  • Fourth, give a compelling rationale that would justify the implications and link the outcomes to the Vision.

6. Give copies of this written proposal to the Leadership sufficiently in advance of the meeting at which it will be considered.

7. Read the proposal to the Leadership or read a coherent summary of its key parts at the meeting when it is to be discussed.

8. Seek a thorough discussion of the proposal, with all the Leadership urged to participate in the discussion. Allow the head of the Leadership group to guide the discussion to appropriate action.

Again, read the whole thing to see each guideline explained.