I've been to my share of church business meetings. Calling them a "necessary evil" doesn't seem quite appropriate somehow, but I do think that is what most of us consider them to be!
We have to have them and some of us dutifully attend each year. Others (you know who you are:)) manage to escape under the guise of having some urgent errand to attend to.
Our church board and pastor have made efforts to make the meetings easier on those of us that attend. They are after the Sunday morning service, so that we don't have to make an effort to get there. We just have to resist the urge to flee.
We even have sandwiches and coffee and the reports are all circulated a week ahead in a booklet in an effort to streamline the process.
We were supposed to read the booklet in advance so that at yesterday's business meeting, the reports would just be moved and seconded, an opportunity given for questions and then they would be passed.
That system broke down for Paul and me. At the door last week I picked up a copy of the booklet. Paul, who came to church later, also picked one up. Since we were supposed to only have one per family, I decided to put mine back. When I got home, Paul asked, "Did you bring your booklet home?"
"No," I said, "I gave it back."
No prizes for guessing who also dutifully handed theirs back! We had to get Brenda, who is the church secretary, to bring a copy home in the middle of the week.
I only have to think back to some past church business meetings to be grateful for those we have now. It is easy to take for granted how uneventful they currently are.
In the early nineties I was the first woman nominated for the board, which caused more than a ripple of opposition from some. For many years now it has been a non issue, and our board has long benefitted from having both men and women members. It is hard to believe that it was even an issue!
I have been at meetings that were heated and fraught with emotion and we could have been forgiven for forgetting that we were at a church business meeting. There were budgets that were scrutinized and criticized and feelings that ran high.
None of that has happened in our church for many years. I think that maybe the tone of the business meeting is representative of the health of the church.
Ours are just a bit lengthy, but we can't really complain about two hours of listening to good people sharing the good work that they are doing with children and youth and missions. 70% of our church membership is involved in some capacity--an unusually large percentage, I think.
There was only one disruption that broke out in our pew. Strangely it came as the worship ministry report was being shared.
It was when it was announced that, "The music ministry would like to host a 50+ event in the way of a Gaither Gospel Night." My pew neighbour and I are both in that age category but not in that music appreciation slot (not that there aren't many people who love that kind of music and nothing wrong with that at all.)
"The Gaithers are for the 65 +. We were hippies," said my friend Ann loudly.
"Yes," I said, even though I wasn't exactly a hippy; I just didn't want to be put in a slot of being 50+ and a lover of big hair and the Gaithers.
"We are more into rock and roll," Ann went on.
"Yes," I said again, egging her on. I was quite enjoying this now.
Well, that was it. That was the high point in terms of excitement at our church business meeting. Other than that it was all just sandwiches and coffee and too many people passionate for God!