The Art of Taking Minutes in Church Meetings: Understanding Their Important Purpose

Church Support Australia

Church meetings are an integral part of any religious organization and taking minutes in church meetings is a must. It is where leaders come together to discuss important matters, make decisions, and plan for future events. Churches registered with the ACNC have particular record-keeping requirements, depending on the state or territory of incorporation, incorporated associations with their own state and territory laws. In order to keep a record of these meetings, it is essential to take accurate minutes. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of church meetings and how to effectively take minutes.

Importance of Church Meetings:

1. Decision Making: Church meetings provide a platform for members to discuss and make decisions on various matters. These decisions can range from financial matters to spiritual ones. It is important to have a record of these decisions for future reference.

2. Planning: Church meetings are also used to plan for upcoming events and activities. Whether it is a fundraiser, community outreach, or religious ceremony, having a clear plan of action is crucial. Minutes can serve as a guide for future planning and help to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

3. Communication: Church meetings are an opportunity for members to communicate with one another. It allows for open discussions and the sharing of ideas and concerns. Minutes can serve as a way to remind members of what has been discussed and any action items that were assigned.

Prepare an agenda:

An agenda is a list of items to be discussed and considered in the church board meeting. The format should have an opening, prayer, reading of the minutes from the previous church board meeting, old business, new business, officer reports, open floor and closing.

Example of matters to be discussed:

Below are examples of matters that may arise: 

  • Building repairs and purchases
  • Hiring an employee
  • Major purchases
  • Loans
  • Department report/s
  • Resignations
  • Member disputes
  • Amendments to the legal foundation (eg constitution)
  • Adopting new policies
  • Adding or removing a board member
  • Discipline of a church member

Send a notification: 

Territory and State law require your church to comply with proper notice requirements. The notice must contain the date, time and location in which the board meeting will take place. Make every effort to send the notice at least 14 days in advance of the board meeting to give each board member enough time to prepare (or what is required by your state/territory laws). The notice should be sent by mail or email with a copy of the agenda and a copy of the minutes from the previous board meeting.  

How to Take Minutes in a Church Meeting:

1. Be Prepared: Before the meeting, make sure to have all the necessary materials ready such as a notebook, pen, and a copy of the agenda. This will help you to stay organized and focused during the meeting.

2. Record Attendance: Start by recording the date, time, and location of the meeting. Then, make a list of all the members who are in attendance. This will help to keep track of who was present and who was absent.

3. Record Discussions: During the meeting, take notes of the discussions that are taking place. It is important to only jot down the key points and not to write word for word. This will make it easier to summarize the discussions later on.

4. Record Decisions: When a decision is made, make sure to record it in the minutes. This includes any action items that were assigned to specific members. It is important to be specific and include who is responsible for each task and the deadline for completion. Write down what is agreed, enough to show matters were discussed properly and decisions made. Write down anything that needs to be done (action items) and anything that needs to stay on the agenda for the next meeting.

5. Use Clear and Concise Language: It is important to use clear and concise language when taking minutes. This will make it easier for others to understand and refer back to the minutes in the future. Avoid using jargon or acronyms that others may not be familiar with.

6. Review and Share: After the meeting, review your notes and make any necessary corrections. Then, share the minutes with the other leaders and members of the church. This will allow for any discrepancies to be addressed and for everyone to be on the same page.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) offers a template for the format of minutes and using a laptop to take minutes, helps you knock out this task more efficiently.

NOTE:- Sometimes your governing body may need to ask members of staff or guests to leave the meeting. You should still take minutes for decisions made in these sessions, but it is a good idea to store them separately to other minutes.
It is important that once the minutes are approved they be signed by at least two officers.

In conclusion, church meetings are an essential part of a religious organization and it is important to take accurate minutes to keep a record of discussions and decisions. By following the above tips, taking minutes can be a simple and straightforward process. Remember to be organized, concise, and share the minutes with others for effective communication and planning.

Author

  • Karen Stuckey

    Karen Stuckey is a dedicated church administrator Pastor with a passion for technology and closely supporting pastors. With over 25 years of experience in Church Administration, she founded Church Support Australia in 2011, offering Virtual Pastoral Administration and website creation services. Karen is a proud wife to Gavin and mother to three children, two in-loves, and grandmother to four adorable grandchildren.

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