Keeping Minutes... Wasting Hours

We’re well into September now… A time of year that brings me more than its fair share of meetings… particularly committee meetings. This morning over on Facebook, a colleague, Micky Youngson, was rejoicing in the fact that she had got through a church meeting in 1 hour 15 minutes... I was pretty smug a fortnight ago when I completed one in 1 hour 30 minutes... at least until I got home and realised that I had omitted 3 important items of business, necessitating an immediate email asking a) for forgiveness and b) for permission to go ahead with the matters in hand. I think people were so pleased to escape early that I got no objections... I would not, however, recommend using this tactic on a regular basis.

Some wag once said that committee meetings keep minutes and waste hours, and there is a prevailing cynicism about such meetings, particularly in the church, a cynicism of which I myself am guilty. Again on Facebook, a friend of mine recently shared that in the 30 odd years since he had left college he had attended around 9,548 meetings of various kinds, which amounted to approximately 13,845 hours or almost 20 months of his life. He asked whether there might be some kind of celestial appeals panel that he could apply to in order to have that time refunded. Others suggested that he clearly had far too much time on his hands in the first place if he was able to waste time working out those statistics… Or perhaps he worked them out as a mental doodle in yet another unproductive meeting.
However, there is no reason for any time to be wasted, be it in a meeting or doing anything else… The question often is not what we are doing but how we do it… How we relate to people around the room in committee meetings? How we go about the most menial and mind-numbing tasks? How we respond under pressure? How we spend the money that we earn from whatever we spend our days doing?
Paul tells the cantankerous church in Corinth
“whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ANIV)
That even applies to church council meetings... in theory...

This is an adaptation of this morning's Just a Moment on Downtown Radio.


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