Saturday, July 17, 2010
Some Words about Presiding
I am convinced that this is one of the big problems in congregational meetings (both attendance and effectiveness). The ability to lead a group of people through an often complicated agenda is not something possessed by all those elected. A good presider can make it easier to get through and give the group the sense that all sides got to speak and the outcome was fair (even if it was not the one you sought). So often this is why congregational meetings end up as gripe sessions. When the agenda is not nailed down and the one presiding does not have that special gift, the result is that those who have complaints are given the forum and the opportunity to complain. As bad as that is, it is worse when it appears that there is no real business to contract and that this meeting was a waste of time. The complainers may cause moans and groans but the meeting that has no purpose or agenda only teaches people that there is no reason to be there in the first place. Both gripe sessions and wandering meetings with no purpose discourage the involvement of the people in the pew in the work of the kingdom and this is not good.
I wish that someone could produce a short video on how to preside at meetings. It would be a great help to those who must (often for the first time) lead a congregation through an often difficult agenda. In our own congregation the first meeting which the newly elected President oversees is the budget meeting -- one which can and often is somewhat contentious. It is a baptism by fire and sometimes the one baptized ends up being burnt. Sometimes the people sitting in on the meeting end up being burnt. So if any of you have an article or video on the fine art of presiding at meetings, send it my way...