Thursday, May 27, 2010

Follow up about Meetings

In the previous post I reviewed a book about how to participate in effective elders meetings. Just for fun, here's a look at what happens when meetings go too far.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good Things- Small Packages

The book Meetings That Work by Alexander Strauch is not large. In fact, you could probably read it in under an hour. But don't be fooled by the size. This book contains a big message. It was written by the man who wrote what I consider to be the definitive work on church elders. That book is called: Biblical Eldership. This much smaller book only addresses one area of eldership- the area of meetings.

Elders do spend significant time in meetings, so it stands to reason that we want to make the most of that time. Strauch's tips for effective meetings begin with some brief thoughts about why elders' meetings are so important. Some reasons include: caring for the spiritual health of the congregation, building character on the part of the elders, developing leadership skills, enhancing morale and accountability, and training future elders.

Once the importance of meetings has been established, Strauch takes the major portion of this book to provide tips on how to make meetings better. Interestingly, the major part of that section is concerned with the character and participation of the elders themselves. If the elders are acting with Christ-like character toward each other, the meeting will be more effective.

Next, Strauch provides some priorities for meetings. These priorities are people, prayer, and the Word of God. If there is a weakness in this book it is that Strauch doesn't provide much guidance regarding that final priority- growth in our knowledge of God that can be accomplished during the meeting of the elders.

As the end of the book approaches, the highly practical tips for participating in meetings are provided. One piece of counsel that I appreciated had to do with the agenda. Strauch highlights the importance of the agenda with these words: "Adequate time spent in preparing an agenda, talking it over with others, thinking it through carefully, prioritizing items, and eliminating needless items guarantees a more productive meeting." One tip for the agenda is to send it out to all participants in advance and let people edit it. Another useful hint was to differentiate between major discussion time and quick items of business. One other piece of advice that stuck with me was that the agenda can list "future business" at the bottom so that the current meetings does not become too overloaded.

We have all heard the maxim that "good things come in small packages." This book is an illustration of that saying. Though it is small, it provides some very good and useful advice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Power Tools

Perhaps you remember an old sit-com with Tim Allen called "Home Improvement." The father in this show (played by Tim Allen) was the host of a show that taught about repairs to the house. He was always trying to "super-charge" any tool to make it more powerful. His antics lead to lots of laughs.

Once you begin to use power tools you start to see the appeal that they had over Tim. Something about driving a nail with the touch of a button or sawing a board with a power saw really does make a man want to grunt with glee (a far less manly show from what I can tell) over the power that he holds in his hands.

I spent some time working with my power tools last week. I was moving my study to a different room. [As an aside, please notice that a pastor has a "study," not an "office," because his primary task is to study the word of God.] In the process of moving I needed to cut the top shelf off of each of my bookshelves because the new room had lower ceilings. I then had to re-assemble all of those shelves into a new book-shelf. Then I had to build one more bookshelf in a size that would fit the new room. It felt good to use the nail-gun, the mitre saw, the circular saw, a drill, and an impact driver. There is a real sense of satisfaction tearing things up and building new things out of them. In the words of an even older TV show that I rarely saw (The A-Team), "I love it when a plan come together."

This move made me notice something I had not previously considered. I enjoyed using my power tools. But the entire reason I was using them was so that I will hopefully do a better job in using the ultimate power tool. The Bible is the word of God. It is the basis for my ministry. The books in my study are there to help me understand, obey, and communicate the Bible in a better way. While regular power tools are helpful for putting up bookshelves, God's book is essential for life. From the Bible we learn about successful life, not only now, but for all of eternity. I'll continue to use my power tools. But I hope that I never drift away from the one power tool that has the power to "give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Building Update

The Building Committee at Cottrell Corners Community Church continues to work toward a new building for the church. Though not much has happened this past month, the committee is still pushing forward. We are still raising money. We are also still waiting on the engineer so that we can submit our plans for permits.

One thing that will help make the new building a reality is if we were to have more people to help pay for it. The committee has many ideas for telling people about the church. The most effective way of seeing more people become a part of our congregation is if each of us who are already a part invite our friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors to join us.

Please pray for the advancement of the permit process and the raising of money. Please pray that God would bring more people to be a part of our congregation. And please give action to your prayer by inviting other people to join us at church. Thanks.