I don’t like long meetings. I especially don’t like long meetings when they are not productive. There is nothing worse than feeling like you just wasted your time sitting through another meeting.

Meetings do not have to be bad thing. In fact, I think they are essential. Unfortunately, many meetings in ministry are not facilitated well. Meetings are easily fixed. My friend Chris Wesley and I recorded on podcast awhile back about Leading Meetings Well.

I think many staff meetings can be kept to 30 minutes or less. That’s how I have run my staff meetings. These are the strategies I use to keep my staff meetings to 30 minutes or less.

Meet once a week.

There is so much going on in our ministry that if we decided to meet once a month, there would be so many things to talk about. Meeting once a month makes it impossible to keep the meeting to 30 minutes. In the past, I had my staff meetings every Monday morning at 10am. If we know in advance that there is a holiday or someone is going to be away, we sometimes adjust the meeting day and time. But, for the most part, my staff meeting is a set part of my weekly schedule.

Come prepared.

I spend about 15 minutes preparing for my weekly staff meeting. I expect my team to do the same. Looking at the upcoming week or two, as well as reviewing the past week, I quickly list out the most important topics that need to be discussed.

Tell people to be brief and concise.

I’m looking for bullet points. The team does not need to know every detail about the upcoming ministry event or project. This is what I am looking for:

  • Important strategic highlights
  • Decisions made recently
  • What I or other team members need to do to help

That’s about it. Keep it simple.

Keep the format of your team meeting consistent.

The format should be the same each week. For me, it works like this:

  • Praise reports: Just a couple minutes for each team member to share a highlight in the past week in their ministry or personal lives. This is about community building and we find this very valuable.
  • Team member reports: Each team member gets about 5 minutes to give their report about what is going on in their segment of their ministry.

That’s about it. Again, just keep it simple.

Allow one 1-hour meeting a month.

Giving us a little extra time once a month allows us to do two things: discuss something in more detail and do some leadership training. For this meeting, the format is usually the typical 30 minute team meeting plus 30 minutes to do some sort of leadership training and development with the team, which is planned in advanced.

With all that said, it is important to note that our team spends a full day twice a year to do some strategic planning and re-prioritization. When we plan our strategic planning meetings well, it is easier to keep our weekly staff meetings to 30 minutes because we are merely acting out on our strategic priorities and updating them as we go.

Question: What strategies would you have to employ to keep your staff meetings to 30 minutes?