What if your Church was WikiLeaked?

14 Jan, 2011

By accident, I was recently sent an agenda to a church’s staff meeting. For the record, I’ve never been on staff at this church, visited this congregation, or know any of the staff or church members.

This leak won’t make any headlines: there is nothing scandalous in the outline below, no one will lose their jobs, leave the church, or stage a religious coup.

At the same time, I think there are interesting observations that can be made from reading these notes; who knows, maybe even some valuable ones.

Subject: Ways to Inspire our Congregation

  • Communicate a clear vision
  • Creativity
  • Attitude of leadership
  • Proper training of volunteers
  • Accountability
  • Leaders exemplifying unity

Subject: Things to address A.S.A.P.

  1. Communication – Public Relations
  2. Leadership
  3. Assimilation – Bringing the crowd into the core
  • Proper signage throughout the facilities (directive)
  • Ways we assimilate information presently
    • From the platform
    • On the overhead screen
    • Weekly church bulletin
    • Wednesday pm Life Groups
    • Information posters in the foyer
    • Limited use of Emails, FB page, Web-site
  • Getting present leaders trained and connected
  • Identifying and raising up leadership to serve
  • Having ongoing leadership meetings to assimilate information, to encourage, addressing and solving problems, to meet present needs, etc.
    • Present method is not relevant
    • Need a strong leader


  • What are your initial thoughts after reading this agenda? Are you surprised at anything? If so, what and why?
  • If you go to church and this was your leaderships’ agenda, how would you feel?
  • If you are on a church staff, have you been to this meeting? How many times?
  • If you are a pastor, have you written this agenda and led this meeting? How’s it going?
  • If you regularly go to a church staff meeting, how would you feel if your agenda and meeting notes were made public?
  • If you don’t attend church, what do you think of this published agenda?

12 Responses

  1. John says:

    Chad, change the faces and the room decor and I've been in this meeting, I've even led such a thing. I'm not particularly proud of that. As you said, nothing surprising here; I feel that's the sad part. Something, even something scandalous would have at least stirred the blood a little (inspiration), but as it is, everything here is standard, functional fare, the endless attempt to get folks connected/plugged in so they can then be a part of the 'vision.' If you hear weariness in my words, you're listening well. If you hadn't indicated it was a 'church' staff mtg, chances are good the same discussions are happening at Wal-Mart and Chipotle. And unfortunately the last two (un)grace notes were the carrot of 'relevant' and the 'strong leader' silver bullet…mercy, mercy.

  2. Erica says:

    Hmm . . . I've never been on a church staff, but this is probably why. The suttle focus, ok not so suttle focus of the words "we motivate." The perspective is off. Where is the true invitation of the Holy Spirit in this meeting? Where is trust and faith that God has a good work he wants to do. Where is the time on the agenda to lean in and listen to what His agenda might be for the church. Is the problem in church really that people aren't involved, aren't trained, or are unmotivated? Are they listening to the peoples hearts about what they are gifted in or desire to lead or bring to the rest of the congregation that is from the Fathers heart. These people are working too hard, I'm tired just reading it. Man there is just a lot here to get into.

  3. singingnewyorker says:

    Hopefully the heart of the agenda is missing. What's missing? Seeking the Savior. Fasting and Prayer The Sanctifiying work of Servanthood. Reads like a business meeting. I'm sure they just didn't print out their heart agenda

  4. I have no idea if I've been to this meeting or not. I've been to meetings with similar talking points, yes. But this is sort of like looking at the basic beatsheet of a film and thinking you've seen the movie. Most movies have the same exact structure, yet are incredibly unique once the people show up to write it/film it/edit it.

    Now why am I comparing church 'business' to filmmaking? Not because it should be polished or 'edited', but because we as Christians are in the 'business' of telling one particular story, over and over.

    Where I would challenge this agenda's meeting, then, is not the talking points, but where they went with it. What is the vision? If it's anything other than telling the Gospel, it's a fail. If it's anything other than giving the lost a chance to respond to the Gospel, it's a fail. If it's anything other than glorifying His name together for a few short minutes and reminding each other of the God we serve, who saved us, it's a fail.

    I've personally been very blessed and encouraged about where the staff meetings I've been to recently have gone. The agendas are there, but I see an increased pressing into the spirit, a greater, more open discussion that gives room for sincere challenges to what we're doing (and on a deeper level than "what the powerpoint looks like").

    I pray the folks attending this particular staff meeting are having a similar experience.

  5. Mindi says:

    I don't want to be cruel, but this looks like an agenda set by a non-leader who just attended a leadership seminar or read a leadership book because they are feeling desperate about the state of their church. It appears that they are trying to correct a leadership vacuum with a list. Either they are without at pastor, have an interim/new pastor, or are searching for a pastor. If they aren't already leading, it isn't going to happen because you handed them a list. If they have a new leader, this list is kind of insulting, insinuating that he/she doesn't know how to lead, and why did you appoint him/her?

  6. Jo Ellen says:

    I get nauseous when I hear the words “vision” and “relevant” in a church setting. Absolutely makes me want to puke.

  7. Amanda says:

    I've been to this staff meeting . . . A LOT! (ugh)

    Let's just put it this way, running a church isn't, or shouldn't be, the same as running a business.

    Maybe I'm "idealistic", but if the leadership has to continually find better ways of communicating their vision message then maybe the lives of those in the church aren't speaking loudly enough. Saying it better doesn't make it so; living the thing is what makes all the difference.

    When does the church need a "vision?" For any church or church member (any follower of Jesus), HE is the vision. Anything other than that and we've started down the journey of corporate idol worship.

  8. I would like to assume that this church is not talking about helping people succeed at Bible-reading, prayer, and making disciples because they have already accomplished those basics and are now ready to spend time on less important issues

  9. No mention of Jesus Christ and/or helping people to connect and function together as His body. Not surprising, though. It's hard for me to understand why people don't stop and think about the fact that HOW you do church matters immensely. If it is structured like a business it is going to be run like a business and you are going to have the same issues that businesses have…this is a good case in point.

    It's time to go back to the church being a family and not an hour long show on Sunday mornings.

  10. Scott Benjamin says:

    "It's time to go back to the church being a family and not an hour long show on Sunday mornings." Bravo!

    I too have attended and led this church staff meeting. I repent for having done so and am a recovering pastor/church plater. My name is Scott.

    For me the turn off is "leadership". Subtly, or not so, the idea of leadership in its various forms has become the "gospel"… When I read "crowd to core", I am the one who wants to puke. Church has become a self sustaining business for the purpose of keeping the Senior Pastor employed and not something resembling a family. It is the perfect case of good intentions gone amuck. Church Growth, Healthy Church, Purpose Driven Church, etc… all make me sad as programs. The Church is not a program, a business or even of this world. It is the mystery of the Body of Christ. I want to know Him, be known, and make Him known in as simple a context as I can find.

    I, with many of you, am on a "journey from fear to love, from rules to relationship, and from religion to freedom." Thank you Chad.

  11. believer says:

    Where’s God? Where’s relationship? Where is anything that sets this apart from any regular business meeting? For some reason, I just can’t picture Jesus attending this meeting, let alone scheduling it.

  12. mlp says:

    I was just trying to picture the kind of "meeting" that Jesus would attend. I guess we know what kind of "meetings" He attended: Meals at the homes of Pharisees, disciples and friends; drinking a refreshing glass of water alone with a Samaritan woman; teaching and feeding crowds of people on a hillside; walking dusty roads with disciples; physically touching and healing men, boys, women, girls. Just a few that come to mind. The common thread that is becoming more clear to me these days, RELATIONSHIP! Friendship! Intimacy!

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