Bad Business Meetings

Every pastor has experienced it at least once. The bad business meeting. Church members gone wild. What should be a family gathering to discuss and discern the will of God for his people becomes a battlefield. Or a playground full of bullies and selfish children vying to get their way. Bad business meetings are not uncommon.

Ungodly Business Meetings

Some business meetings can be horrible displays of ungodly behavior. I consulted with one church that had one of those meetings nearly three decades ago. They still remember it as “the big fight in the sanctuary.” In another church an angry mob broke out when a group did not get their way. The sanctuary was filled with shouts and shoves and fingers pointed in the faces of opponents. It resembled the Jerry Springer Show more than a gathering of God’s people.

One of my “favorite” ungodly business meetings involved a sharply divided church voting to reconsider a previous decision. The original recommendation came unanimously from the deacon body. The church took time to talk about the recommendation and to pray over it. It passed unanimously. But when it came time to implement the decision some church members rebelled. They marshaled their forces and showed up at the next meeting determined to reverse the previous decision. In the course of the discussion one man arrogantly and angrily proclaimed, “We’ve got our people here. Let’s vote!” Turns out he didn’t have as many of his people there as he thought.

It’s no wonder that 70% to 90% of our churches need some level of revitalization. And 3,000 to 4,000 churches across North America close their doors every year. Ungodly business meetings are a significant sign of an unhealthy church.

Crazy Business Meetings

Business meetings should be for the purpose of discussing and discerning God’s will. Some are ungodly. Some are just bad. And a few are crazy, as in hilarious. One of my favorite Twitter accounts (@Rev_Norespect) recently posted this: “The craziest thing we ever voted on at church was…”  Many of the responses were hilarious. Here are a few of my favorites.

  1. How much for a Coke? – The church passed a record budget with virtually no discussion. Then spent 25 minutes discussing raising the price of drinks in the vending machine by a nickel. At least they had their priorities in order.
  2. Paper or China? – This was a vote about the dinnerware used for bereavement meals. It seems that some families were served on paper while others were served on china. Kind of a modern-day Acts 6 dilemma. Maybe they should have just selected seven men from among them…
  3. No Methodists Allowed! – The Baptist church voted to put up a sign in their parking lot that read, “Baptist Parking Only.” It seems the Methodists across the street were using the Baptist parking lots. I guess the cars were only sprinkled when they went through the car wash.
  4. Goldfish or Moonpies? – This was a churchwide vote on which to serve for VBS snacks. Are you kidding me? A church that serves Moonpies will absolutely crush the VBS competition for highest attendance. You can get Goldfish anywhere. Why would you even vote on this?
  5. Fanning the Flame – This church spent 45 minutes discussing where to hang a ceiling fan to keep the pastor cool while he was preaching. I don’t think this is what Paul meant when he instructed Timothy to fan God’s gift into flame.
  6. Cover those Legs! – The church had a long and contentious meeting over whether they would allow the man cutting the two-plus-acre church lawn with a push mower to wear shorts. And in south Texas no less! Maybe they should’ve just hired Forest Gump. He would cut that grass for free.
  7. Shorter Sermons – This church voted on whether or not the pastor could preach past the traditional ending time of the service. Gotta beat those Methodists to the buffet! (And keep them out of the parking lot).
  8. Stay In Bounds – Churches with cemeteries often face unique situations. This church had to vote on whether someone could be buried outside of the cemetery fence. The pastor voted no because that put the burial site too close to the pastorium!
  9. New Musical Instrument – There is a long standing legend that a certain church had a protracted argument over purchasing chandeliers for the sanctuary. The chief argument against was that no one at the church knew how to play them.
  10. Should We Pay the Bills? – I know of a church that voted every month to pay the bills and approve the monthly financial report. Voting to pay the bills seemed irrelevant since they had already been paid. But I guess they could stop payment if the vote was “no.” I just hope the pastor cashed his check before the business meeting each month.

Let me know what you think. What could you add to the list?

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Rob Paul is a church revitalization strategist with over three decades of experience serving established Southern Baptist churches in pastoral ministry. He has a passion for encouraging and equipping established churches to experience revival and revitalization by God’s grace and for His glory. To find out more about Rob Paul Ministries or to financially support the work of church revitalization, visit https://robpaul.net

2 thoughts on “Bad Business Meetings”

  1. I smiled at the opening statement that most pastors have known “at least one” bad business meeting. I have scars. In one contentious meeting (in which the deacons recommended something which I urged them not to!; but they did it anyway), after a solid hour of bickering back and forth, I took a straw vote–“This is not an actual vote, but if we were to vote this minute, this is how you would vote”–and when it came out 50-50, I said, “All right folks, this meeting is ended. We will keep right on doing what we’ve been doing.” I let the papers fall to the floor and walked off. — Sometime later a deacon said to me, “I’ve seen you lose your temper in front of the church.” I said, “No, you saw me hold my temper.” Nothing got better in that church until some carnal men were no longer elected as leaders.

  2. Rob,

    I recall a business meeting several years ago at a previous church where a member congratulated the pastor on his one year anniversary before launching into a diatribe on his dislikes with the pastor. His dislikes ranged from methodology, service order, and preaching style but nothing theological. As you might could guess, this member was a rare attender to Sunday’s much less Wednesday evenings; yet, he made this business meeting. The wonderful part of the meeting was when a group of men showed up at the pastors house to encourage and pray over him.

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