“As you come to each department listed on your agenda, always have the leader read the highlights and totals from their report. You should look for things upon which to make a favorable comment. If you just glance at the report and take it lightly, you are telling that director that their department and responsibilities are not important. Always remember, Mark, that one of the greatest of motivators is feedback on results. Complement them on what went well. Ask questions. Show sincere interest. Nothing will encourage your leaders more than being complimented in front of their peers. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.”
By Tim Massengale
Pastor Mark North nibbled on the end of his pen and stared at the computer projector sitting on the desk in front of him. It was broken – the lens was shattered – and he needed it for his monthly council meeting that night with his department heads.
With a sigh, he picked up the phone to call his good friend and neighboring pastor, Brother Vernon Baker.
Thirty minutes later he paused at the entrance to Elder Baker’s office. The elderly pastor looked up and smiled. “Come in! I got that projector you need right here,” he motioned to a zippered case sitting on the edge of his desk. “Glad we can help. This is an extra one we don’t often use, so you are free to keep it until you get yours fixed.”
“Thanks so much, Elder. You don’t know how much I appreciate this. I feel bad, though. It seems I’m constantly borrowing from you.”
“And I from you! What are friends for? Remember that chain saw you loaned me? Works great! When do you need it back?”
Mark grinned. “No rush – just whenever you’re through. But this projector saves my bacon. I want to show a leadership training DVD tonight at my monthly planning session.”
Why Plan Monthly?
Elder Baker nodded. “So how are the monthly planning sessions going? Are they working out for you?”
“Absolutely! We have been doing them for over a year now. I meet with all my ministry leaders the first Tuesday evening of each month. You know, I don’t know how I managed without them. I can honestly say they have been the key to the success of our church growth plan.”
The older pastor nodded in agreement. “Remember I told you that if you ever stopped meeting with your ministry leaders each month that your growth plan would collapse. Setting growth goals and launching evangelism programs are good – but success lies in motivating and managing that growth plan for the long term. Your monthly planning council does that, plus it gives you the means to implement your plans from your planning retreat, lets you evaluate the progress and success of each ministry, and provides much needed accountability for your volunteer team. Of the four key parts of the church management plan I showed you – the annual planning retreat, the departmental one-year plans, the monthly planning council, and the weekly tag-in – the most critical is your monthly planning. This is what keeps your growth plan on track.”
Mark settled into one of the leather chairs in front of Brother Baker’s desk. “I agree. But I am having a little trouble with my leaders being faithful to attend. Any suggestions?”
“Perhaps. Did you set all your monthly meeting dates at your annual planning retreat?”
“Yes. We went through the calendar month by month and I made sure they all marked the dates.”
“Good. Do you send them an email a week before the meeting reminding them of the meeting and attaching a copy of the tentative agenda to show what will be discussed?”
“I do send them the email reminder, but how can I send the agenda? I usually wait until I hear back from them before I make that up.”
“You should be able to list most of the discussion topics in advance. They come from the departmental one-year plans that they handed in after your planning retreat. Whatever the department has planned for the next three months should be on the agenda.”