January 2008
Vestry Meetings

Three Time-Savers

Excerpts from Beyond Business as Usual by Neal O. Michell, reprinted with permission from Church Publishing. 

The agenda and the treasurer’s report should be distributed to vestry members a week in advance of the meeting. No new item of business can be placed on the agenda once it has been mailed out, unless it is an emergency (and there should be very few emergencies). Spur-of-the-moment discussions make for long meetings and can derail an otherwise productive meeting.

Individual financial questions should be addressed to the treasurer ahead of the meeting. When asking a financial question, the guiding principle should be: Is this information for the good of the vestry as a whole, or is it simply based on my need to know or my need for clarification?

Prepare an agenda with clear time allocation. As part of the agenda, make three columns: item discussed, with a brief description of what is at issue; who is presenting; and the estimated time it should take. This gives the vestry a preview of the meeting and how long the meeting should last. It communicates that the agenda has been thoughtfully prepared and that they can expect a productive meeting.

This article is part of the January 2008 Vestry Papers issue on Vestry Meetings