When your meeting’s stuck in the mud, revving

The committee was stuck in the mud, revving its wheels like a stranded Land Rover.


We were tripping over ourselves with the agenda for the meeting each time we met.

No matter how careful we were to prioritise the right things, and no matter how careful we were to allocate time in proportion to importance, somehow the need to get to the end of the agenda before the time ran out meant we felt we were on a treadmill, never able to get the big picture.

And this being a church meeting, it was an evening meeting, using the precious free time of our members at the end of a busy working day for everyone.

I have a personal rule that no meeting I chair goes past 9.30, because I turn into a pumpkin.  And on reflection, whenever such meetings have run on when I’ve been chair, it’s because I’ve already been too tired to focus properly on keeping things running tightly.

But the problem this time was the agenda.

mud-1301274_1920It was a really important, thorough agenda. And, of course, it was a really important group, looking at a key area of church life. So the fact that it was stuck in the mud, revving its wheels like a stranded Land Rover, was a problem.

And then it hit us – why not a have a focussed, single item meeting? 

It’s obvious, and we do it in our workplaces all the time, but somehow in church, squeezing ministry meetings into already crowded diaries seems to mean that we overload agendas.  So nothing gets really processed in depth and prayed over.

So here’s what we’re going to do. The next time this group meets we shall look at one topic only.  No minutes, AOB or spreadsheets. Date of the next meeting already agreed. Anyone absent has apologised by default. 

The meeting after that, again, just one thing.  Then we’ll have a more general one.


We’ll see if it gets the Land Rover out the mud.

2 comments on “When your meeting’s stuck in the mud, revving”

  1. Hi Chris, that’s what we started doing with our deacon’s meeting a while ago. We weren’t really addressing issues, just skimming over them to get everything done by 9:30pm. Having single issue meetings has made a huge difference. It’s followed up by email, so everyone knows what they are meant to be doing and when. Trust it works for you also.

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