In 2004, Patrick Lencioni published a book entitled Death by Meeting. The author had me at the title. During my career, I have endured many murderous meetings. They didn’t kill me, but I almost died of boredom at times.
Like them or not, we all spend a lot of time in meetings, including: business meetings, church meetings, school meetings, civic club meetings, Little League meetings, Scout meetings, homeowners’ meetings, and more. We even plan pre-meetings to organize meetings and post-meetings to debrief how previous meetings met!
Many times I would prefer to just do the work myself rather than meet with others. For the same reason, I never liked group projects in school. The weakest link determines the strength of a chain. I preferred to earn my own grade rather than depend on someone else’s efforts.
This solo approach works well in any organization with one member or less; however, it does not work in groups of two or more! Like children in preschool, we must learn how to work and play nicely with others.
From a Biblical and theological perspective, each person is a valuable, worthwhile child of God. The Lord gifts every human being with talents and abilities. Meeting enable people to share their talents in order to benefit the group.
Business leaders use buzz words like “synergy” to describe this process. Dictionaries provide a formal definition of the term; however, a simple math equation illustrates the principle:
Synergy occurs when 1 + 1 = MORE THAN TWO!
Such synergy enables the whole to be more than the sum of its parts. In other words, groups become more together than apart as individuals. We see the principle illustrated in athletic teams, jazz bands, project groups, and barbershop quartets.
The Bible uses many images to describe the church, including the body of Jesus Christ: one body, many members, all gifted in their own way. We complement one another in ways that enable the church to accomplish God’s work.
Death by meeting . . . well, maybe it feels that way sometimes.
Life by meeting . . . it turns out that’s how God does business.