Finance Fridays: The Annual Business Meeting
There are few things on the face of the planet that make a church staff member cringe more than the thought of the church’s annual business meeting. The horror stories of these meetings are the stuff of legend, from the airing of grievances to pastors getting punched in front of the congregation. While we all love a good drama every now and again, my assumption is that we would probably prefer to not have it played out over the discussion of budgets and annual reports.
I personally feel like the annual business meeting gets a raw deal. As a pastor, I used to love the business meeting, and used it to build momentum in our ministry. Too often churches look at this meeting as a place to run through statistics, spreadsheets, and facility concerns. I looked at the business meeting as a forum to tell the story of the ministries that I was entrusted with, celebrate successes, share concerns, and cast vision for where we were headed.
What would it take to turn the annual business meeting into an event where people came away charged up about your church’s vision? Three things that I think will help:
- Stories. Every time I have ever presented at a church business meeting I have had people in our ministry share how they were ministered to. Whether it was a leader sharing about leading a group of middle schoolers, a student talking about how her new found relationship with Jesus kept her from committing suicide, or a parent sharing how her second grader was upset when she had to go visit her grandmother instead of going to our children’s ministry. Stories are important to casting vision, and getting people excited about what is going on in your church, and this is a great way to keep your regular givers informed about the impact their tithes are having. Tell the stories of life change, and celebrate the move of the Holy Spirit!
- Rethink Budgeting. A big part of these meetings is the approval of your upcoming budget. Rather than put another spreadsheet in everyone’s hand and run through it line by line, why not find a way to creatively communicate where your money will be spent, and tie it into the vision of your church? I think that we too often allow ourselves to get bogged down by the specifics of a budget and completely miss the reason behind the budget: to change lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Ben Stroup has a phenomenal post about this on his blog. Go, read it now!
- Dream. I think that there are few things cooler than when a church leader dreams with his congregation. Before you end your meeting, take a few minutes to share your dreams for the coming year with your congregation. Help them understand how your church will be doing amazing things to expand God’s Kingdom in the coming year, and invite them to be a part of it.
The nice thing about these meetings is that this is your home crowd. These are the people who have gone through your membership process and have committed to being a part of your congregation, take advantage of the time to recharge, motivate, and inspire your team for another season of ministry.
How do YOU handle business meetings in YOUR church?