Roberts Rules of Order

Comments:  Fundamentally meetings will rapidly run out of control without some formal boundaries.  People have agenda’s, interests, political motives and differing perceptions of time.  Robert’s Rules help maintain just that, order and methods to contain the direction and focus of any meeting.

1.  The council and especially the president (or person presiding over the meeting) must have some working knowledge of the Rules in order to conduct a worthwhile meeting.  The text is extensive and I would suggest that only a limited number of rules would suffice for our church. 

2.  A short list could be developed for the church council to retain for study and use at future meetings.

3.  Church council members must realize that the council meeting is organized for church business.   Members should be expected to discuss their area of responsibility.  If we are not ready to discuss the topic (not to include emergency situations) or have suggested options, we can’t expect the council to ‘committee’ the topic during the meeting.  Too often the scope of the topic is too large for the council to intelligently discuss and remedy in a few minutes.  If we must bring up a topic, without due diligence, expect the president to table/gavel the discussion until a later date.

4.  Suggest the president predetermine the length of council meetings prior to the meeting.  Should the time expire and church business is still at hand, a quick majority vote can easily extend the meeting (ex. Meeting will last 1.5 hours, if majority rules, the meeting will be extended in 15-30 minute increments).


Comments:  Our church is small and many of us have been in positions of leadership for decades.  I think it is imperative we approach our structure creatively and be able to change our paradigm, our view, of how we do the Lord’s work.  Typically, 20% of our members will do the majority of volunteer effort at church. 

Extensive surveys have been conducted by our Synod and other denominations.  The results show more people want to volunteer on a short-term basis.

  1. We might want to consider condensing our job descriptions, combining positions or leaving non-essential positions open temporarily. 
  2. Are we properly training our new volunteers before they start their new jobs?  Is this task specified anywhere i.e., bylaws?
  3. Do we compel our members to serve through such conduits as our weekly sermons, bible study, newsletter, etc?
  4. A retreat might be in order to help us understand where we are on the spectrum of Christian volunteerism and possibly refocus our efforts.
  5. What do successful, small churches do to combat this issue?