In the last blog we looked at some of the core characteristics that are common to all meetings. Now we shall look at the different types of meeting.
Types of meeting
The types of meeting I attend fall into three categories:
1. Informal and often spontaneous
2. One in a defined series towards a particular goal
3. On-going for the purpose of conducting ‘general business’
Informal and often spontaneous
These describe many of the meetings which I attend and may number just 2 people or a few more. Called to discuss a particular point they do not carry the need for agendas and minutes, about which I will say more in subsequent blogs. However, it is important that everyone knows the purpose and expected outcomes, as discussed previously.
One in a series towards a particular goal
An example of this would be the Management Team meetings for the Together on a Mission (TOAM) conference. As stated above, we have a very clear purpose, to run the TOAM conference on behalf of the leaders and apostolic oversight of the Newfrontiers family of churches.
Each person on the Team has clear responsibilities and we all work to a pre-determined common timeline for all the activities needed throughout the year. The result is that only four meetings of quite short duration are needed in the year, although there is much contact between different members outside the meetings. These meetings are primarily for reporting on progress and accountability, and to discuss any areas of overlap between different responsibilities that cannot be handled on a one-to-one basis.
The Core Team of Newfrontiers meets 3-4 times per year, each meeting lasting 3 or 4 days. The purpose is to bring ‘comfort’ to the family of churches by handling the necessary legal and financial matters, discussing activities and relationships on an international context, develop strategy in various ministry areas etc. The Team is accountable to the Directors (trustees) of the New Frontiers International charity.
A different series of on-going meetings that I attend is the International Communications Team of Newfrontiers. This Team meets every 3 weeks with a rolling agenda i.e. there is a core agenda which specifies discussion and planning that may be necessary to handle the myriad of different topics to be communicated, and types of communication that are needed internationally in the Newfrontiers family of churches – Magazine, Videos, Website and other web-based communications, advertising for conferences etc etc. These meetings end with many decisions being made and actions needed, which are monitored through the minutes in a way that will become clear in a later blog.
It was once said that ‘meetings waste hours to keep minutes’! Let us strive not to let that be a definition of any meetings in which we are involved!
In the next blog I shall discuss agendas, the skeleton around which a successful and productive meeting is developed. A well constructed agenda can save much time in the meeting.