Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Five: Meetings Meetings

Our Friday Five topic is about meetings and is brought to us by ReverendMother. She writes:

In honor of a couple of marathon meetings I attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

Definitely A. I'm all about teams working together. However, the opposite is also true. When they're bad, THEY'RE BAD!!! There are some meetings that leave me so drained that I just want to go home and crawl into bed for weeks. This usually is associated with slow speaking or inarticulate speakers. We've had our weekly staff meetings canceled 3 weeks in a row and it's driving me crazy. First of all I wanted to share with the staff all the stuff we've been doing in the worship planning team training sessions, and secondly, why would we NOT have a meeting the week fall programing starts back up is beyond me! There were so many issues that needed to be addressed the past few weeks that just got left hanging because we didn't meet. So, meetings are necessary, and when they're good, they're great!

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business? I think community building is vital if the meetings are actually going to get anything done. It's not necessary to do a ropes course at each meeting, but if, through consistent work, a community is built where the trust level is high and the ego level is low, the meetings can be ever so much more productive than just a 'business only' gathering. I'm all about community (see my last post).

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area. Leading meetings is not my favorite thing to do. I'm never really sure how to keep the conversation on task. There always seems to be someone leading the topic off in another direction than it needs to go. I'm not very good at being the 'tough one.' My problem on the other side is that I have a tendency to jump into any conversation and stick my nose into areas outside my jurisdiction. It's not unusual for me to be an active memeber in a conversation at staff about the nursery program, or adult discipleship, or any other subject matter other than music. So, I apparently have this need to be leading everything, even though I really don't want to. Really, I think it's a matter of patience. I don't always have much patience for people who talk really slowly, or who are not very concise and end up using 5 long sentences when it could have been said in 2 words. Looking back at this answer, perhaps I'm just seeing myself in other people :)

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format? Part of my course work for this degree involved conversations on a message board. It wasn't really real time - we didn't have to meet on the board at a specified time, just had to post and respond before a certain date. I liked this format because I could think before I spoke (posted). I'm usually not good at that in a real meeting. As for a real-time virtual meeting? I can't recall ever doing something like that.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended. Well, the only memorable meeting that's coming to mind was not a happy one. Why is it the bad ones are the memorable ones? This was a special called meeting of the staff on a Monday morning in June 2 years ago. Our senior pastor called the meeting so he could announce that he was leaving because he had broken his marriage and ordination vows by having an affair with a parishioner. I had known something was afoot but couldn't put a finger on what was wrong. I had a feeling for some reason that he was going to be leaving, but thought it was perhaps his wife's health or something like that. But this was so far out of the blue the wind was literally knocked out of me, the carpet ripped out from under my feet, the floor dropped, the anvil fell, on and on and on. Never, NEVER in a million years would I have suspected that. I knew this pastor and his family for over 15 years. I had spent many a night at their home, played scrabble and trivial pursuit with their kids, talked politics, religion, shared personal problems, leaned on them, introduced various boyfriends to them, and even changed my whole career path after a time of working with him in ministry. As it turned out, it wasn't just one person either! How did I miss that completely? I think I must be good at ignoring things I don't want to see. I like to say that I like to assume the best in people, but sometimes I feel like perhaps I'm just to cowardly to recognize the truth. I never want to have another meeting like that again!

Gosh, I hate to leave it on such a terrible note. So, let me brighten the post a bit by saying that this incident was one in a long line of awful incidents that didn't destroy this congregation, but rather brought it together, forged some awesome leaders and forced those leaders to really strive to listen to God first and last. God really does work miracles through broken vessels.

Oh, here's a funny meeting (well, sort of a meeting) story. Last night during choir practice we stopped rehearsal to have a brief bit of announcements. Our assistant choir director was talking about a visiting ensemble coming in October and that we needed to house 35 people. She made the point that these were all adults and that in this situation (which is different than normal) if you could only house 1 person, that was ok. Normally we never have fewer than 2 in a house. This little old lady who had lost her husband about 2 years ago piped up and said, "Can I have a single male, please?" I think the choir laughed for about 10 min.


Blogger Leah Sophia said...

You #5--just devastating! Glad you ended with a fun one, though. I've never participated in a virtual meeting-type meeting, but I've discussed theology online with the usual classroom give-and-take and love the chance to think some before posting; it's a special, unique dimension inbetween live conversation and writing more formal papers. Continued blessings on your journey!

11:55 PM  

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