Monday, March 29, 2010

The Church Business Meeting

By Belinda

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!

9 comments:

Marilyn Yocum said...

I sympathize with your mixed feelings about business meetings. It's a privilege to have business to attend to (you have an unbelievably high participations rate!) and yet it can be a drag and, worse, contentious at times.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that at our last meeting, when there came a call for a motion to adjourn, I jumped at it. Maybe I looked a little too eager. Tsk, tsk.

I cracked up at Ann's "65+" comment! She's right.

LOVE your new blog theme!

Susan said...

GUILTY!!! (Heh,heh.)

Glad to hear you all had a great time. So did I.

When I drove to Memphis a few year back, I was amazed to see a huge billboard in Indiana, I think it was, which read, "You are now entering 'Gaither Country'". I guess Ohio is a long way from there, hey Marilyn? :)

Mind you, we sang a rousing version of "The King is Coming" yesterday morning a la Gaither-style, and it was pretty inspiring - to me, anyway! But then again, so was the Chris Tomlin, Linclon Brewster, Leeland and Newsboys music that went down, too. And even "over fifties" were singin' up a storm!

Dawn said...

I too love the new background.

In our church, the reports are e-mailed out and there is a supply for those without e-mail. It is far cheaper for the church - and more green.

Belinda said...

Oh, thank you for your comments dear friends. I pressed "publish" and wondered if I had committed heresy! :)

I also worried that I might have offended my friends who love the wonderful Gaithers. I think our flurry of rebellion was all about being put in a box that said that because we were 50 plus we should love them! Well, we are children of the 60's after all. :)

Dawn, your green idea is perfect. We definitely lag behind in using the technology available to it's best advantage. I shall have to bring it up at a business meeting! :)

Deidra said...

We had our quarterly (!) church meeting yesterday. I'm a bit envious that yours is an annual event. As the wife of the pastor, the day of the meeting (and the week leading up to it) can be quite stressful. As much as you try to prepare, you just never know what might happen. Our meeting went well and was even inspirational. I am sure your pastors and leaders are grateful for your participation. They are blessed, indeed, to have you there!

mercygraceword said...

Interesting thing about 'Gaither' music, it actually is more than one genre (at least from the perspective of this 56 year old.) When I was supporting people directly they were given some Gaither videos, and it was amazing the atmosphere it created, everyone loved watching them. Listening to the voice of Dallas Holm singing "Midnight Cry" or one of the many versions of the Gaither Vocal Band doing some more contemporary numbers is a far cry from listening to a quartet from the 50's (although even some of them are wonderful.) Then there are the testimonies of some of the prodigals, singing with tears running down their cheeks...I was a wannabee hippy but some of those Gaither videos are pretty sweet too!
I've also been at church meetings that took a nasty turn in the past - because someone came with a personal agenda - it was almost like an ambush. Thankful your meeting was so peaceful (except for the hippies :o)

Deborah

Deborah

Belinda said...

Deborah, you made me laugh at the end. Yes, I do agree about the Gaithers. I admit that I went to one of their concerts when they came to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and my stereotype was blown away even though I appreciate a different type of music more. There were people from our church in their thirties there who absolutely loved them.

Here's to the hippies! :)

Belinda said...

And Deborah, how was the book you got for this past weekend? I hope you had some time to enjoy it!

Olson Family said...

Once again, you've brought a wide smile to my lips! What a delightful post about something that can be stereotypically wearisome! Thank you. (The participation rate in your church is INSPIRING!)