Bring These Rules to Your Next Meeting

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Don't waster your valuable time (or other people's) in pointless meetings.

We pastors have a lot of meetings.

A lot.

I should’ve included “How to lead meetings” in my list of things I wish seminary had taught me. Meetings end up eating the majority of many of my ministry days.

Whether I’m meeting with current small group leaders, potential coaches, ministry team members or random church members, I’m in meetings hours and hours each week.

I love people, which means I don’t hate meetings. But I also value my time and theirs, and don’t want to waste my days and my life in pointless meetings.

Throughout the seven years or so I’ve been a pastor, I’ve learned a few things about meetings that may help save you some headaches.

10 Meeting Rules Every Pastor Should Live By

1. Always bring a notepad.

If you come without something to write on, it shows you don’t really care about that meeting. If it were more important, you’d have something to jot notes down on.

2. Buying someone a cup of coffee makes them more likely to agree to lead a small group.

Call this a bit of manipulation if you want, but it works.

3. Always be on time.

I used to try to be early to every meeting, but I found that 10 extra minutes here or there was adding up. And that 10 extra minutes here or there that I recaptured helped me get caught up on email, make that phone call I hadn’t yet or put the finishing touches on a project made those few minutes valuable to me.

Be on time, and don’t shoot to be super early.

4. Make the sale in person.

If you’re going to recruit someone to lead a small group, or some key role, don’t do it over email.

Don’t do it over the phone, or by text message. Make the ask in person.

5. Make meetings count.

People’s time is valuable …yours included.

If you’re going to meet with someone, plan on recruiting them for something. Or pitching an idea their way. Or invest in them spiritually. Or something.

Make a decision at every meeting you lead. Never walk out of a meeting with your only takeaway being “let’s meet again and decide ____.”

Ben Reed Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.

More from Ben Reed or visit Ben at

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  • ServantHeart2012

    This is great for small meetings (1-3 people) but what about those “official” meetings? (Elders, Deacons, Trustees, etc.) If those are handled haphazardly and don’t have a clear agenda they are usually a huge waste of everyone’s time and they don’t produce anything. Also, having a meeting just because we always have a meeting on a certain day and time is senseless. If there is no purpose for a “standing meeting” cancel it until there is! (This applies to those “weekly staff meetings” when they become nothing more than a “gripe and moan” session as well!)

  • Rodney

    If I understand #5 correctly, I must disagree. Long ago it dawned on me that springing a matter on someone and expecting an immediate decision was a bad idea. Give people time to pray and reflect. If they say no, tell them that’s okay. Maybe they can say yes to another matter later.

    • Steven Leapley

      Rodney, I think you may be reading into #5 a little bit. I know what you are saying and I see what Ben is writing. A little prep goes a long way for a meeting to. Knowing what you are going into a meeting helps prepare the outcome. The decision may be at another meeting, however, as Ben states it shouldn’t be another meeting to discuss whether or not someone should do something….the outcome may be ok…I;ll get back to you in 2 days confirming a yes or a no answer…. just my humble perspective.

  • Philip Verghese Ariel

    Hi Ben.

    Nice to be here,

    I am here via John’s Ramblings, interview with you page

    I liked the advice the no. 10 The shutting down buisiness lol

    Yes, we need to re-charge!!!

    Keep inform


    Philip v ariel


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