1. Have a definite time and place for each meeting. Be sure to schedule at convenient times for those participating.
2. Give lots of advance notice. Send reminder e-mails the day prior. Encourage participants to pray ahead of time for God’s direction and wisdom in the meeting.
3. Have the room in order, with everything needed at hand.
4. Start exactly on the time. Otherwise, people will come later and later because they know the meeting never starts when scheduled.
5. Have a written agenda which provides a focus for the meeting. Follow the agenda to keep the session structured. Winging it does not work in children’s ministry.
6. Make your meeting fun! Interjecting creativity encourages participation and makes those attending look forward to the time together. Whenever possible, include hands-on activities, demonstrations, games, and role-playing. Plan shifts in delivery mode to avoid boredom and discourage “mental vacations.”
Food is always a useful device for generating excitement in your meetings. Before your meeting, tape, for example, individually wrapped chocolates under the participants’ chairs. After welcoming people to the meeting, tell the group they have “surprises” under their chairs. Everyone enjoys surprises, no matter how small! Not only is this a nice way of saying “welcome” to the meeting, but it’s also an inexpensive way to create a fun and exciting tone for the meeting ahead.
7. Find out what your group is thinking. Get contributions from everyone as much as possible and let them take ownership. A simple game involving a soft, small ball will not only help your group generate more ideas, but will also emphasize the importance of engaging in active participation during a discussion. Begin by throwing the ball to a participant. That person must comment on the subject at hand and then throw the ball to another participant. Each time the ball is thrown around the room, another comment or suggestion is made. This encourages every participant to contribute to the meeting discussion and provides a variety of perspectives on the issue at hand. Notice the spontaneity, smiles, and overall involvement generated in the room when the entire group participates. This game is particularly effective for brainstorming sessions, since the excitement generated in the room will encourage individuals to think creatively. PowerPoint tends to make meetings with one-way communication and passive participation. If using electronics, find ways to find out what your group is thinking.
8. Wrap up the meeting by nailing down decisions.
9. Pray for each other. This is the most important “business” accomplished at any meeting. Pray for personal needs of group members and specified needs within each class.
10. Conclude at the scheduled time. Meetings should not be more than one hour in length. It’s inconsiderate to assume the participants’ schedules revolve around your meeting, so wrap up when promised.