Seven Reasons Why Monthly Church Business Meetings Are Dying


It is almost an unspoken phenomenon in church life.

Three decades ago, over nine of ten churches with a congregational government had a monthly business meeting. Several non-congregational churches had monthly business meetings as well.

Today, less than one-third of American Protestant churches have these monthly meetings. That is an incredible decline hardly noted by many pundits.

The monthly church business meeting is dying.


  1. The meeting often attracts the most negative members in the church. It becomes their place for griping and criticizing. One elder told me his church’s monthly business meeting was “the meeting from hell.”
  2. The negative church members have pushed the positive members out of the meetings. Healthy church members have no desire to be a part of a gripe and complain session. Most of them who do attend do so to protect the pastor and the staff.
  3. The frequency of the meeting leads to micromanagement. There is typically not sufficient major business to discuss every month. So the void is filled with discussions and complaints of minutiae. One monthly church meeting lasted over an hour due to disagreements regarding the quality and cost of toilet tissue in the restrooms.
  4. This meeting has become one of the most dreaded times for many pastors. These pastors certainly do not demonstrate excitement and anticipation in most cases. Church members typically will not follow unless leaders are enthused.
  5. The Millennials abhor contentious meetings. The monthly meeting thus has become one of the ways to drive off many young adults.
  6. The meeting often allows a few naysayers to have inordinate power. Frankly, that’s why many of them attend. A church members seeking power is a church member in need of repentance.
  7. The monthly business meeting is simply not necessary. It is a waste of the precious resource of time. If there is a need for the church to tend to a major issue, special meetings can always be called.

The monthly church meeting is dying.

And few tears are being shed.

Let me hear your thoughts.

Posted on February 29, 2016

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • I have seen things go on in church business meeting that should never have happened inside a church building. We are the body of Christ, and the Lord calls and commands us to love one another. Name calling, yelling at each other, and putting the pastor on public trial are the opposite of Christ’s command that we love one another. Monthly business meetings, or BM’s as I like to call them, are the bane of church life.

    All of your observations are spot on – thanks for bringing this issue out into the light.

  • Daniel Bowling says on

    Tom, when is your new book coming out and where can it be purchased on changing the church?

  • I’ve proposed quarterly or less meetings, but our board seems to be under the impression the state requires it, no matter how much I say otherwise.

  • Does this refer to meetings the whole congregation and/or membership are invited to or a leadership meeting?

  • I haven’t read these comments, but years ago we went to quarterly business meetings for the very reasons you mentioned. There are times that you seem to have multiple called meetings, but overall it’s much better than monthly business meetings. We left this particular church and came back after 10 years. Haven’t caught up yet, but in this past year they went from May 2015 until January without a business meeting.

  • John Gentry says on

    I have never attended a men’s business meeting and walked away thinking that my attendance was a great use of my time. More often, I felt like I was in a group of men who had “no business” trying to meet.

  • David Apple says on

    If a church has good vision, all actions should support the vision. Finances are only a vehicle to accomplish the vision.
    Trust your deacons and don’t micromanage.
    Take the time to work out issues in committees and other gatherings, not in the business meetings.
    Pray for miracles. God may surprise you.

  • Mark Epperson says on

    Last year we amended ALL of our By-Laws which included monthly business meetings. We now meet quarterly and the meetings are called “Church Conference”. Names and titles carry great significance. We “conference” now, instead of “doing business”. Semantics? Yes – but it works! Our “By-Laws Nazi” voted against it; but he voted against most every amendment (usually all alone). We are also working toward leading the church to the place where all the church votes on are 4 things: (1) The Pastor of the Church; (2) Those who will serve as Deacons; (3) Those who will serve on committees; (4) the church budget. We are not quite there – but close. Of course, anything of a major decision (relocation, new buildings, etc…) will require and include church approval.

  • Jeff Ogden says on

    Another reason why I’m Presbyterian and not a Congregationalist.

  • After reading most of these replies it seems the overwhelming theme is to make sure the church staff is happy and they don’t want to be accountable to their churches. Having been an active member of a SBC for over forty years I don’t think members really care how often business meeting are held or when they are held. They just want to be informed as to what is going on in the church ministries or how monies or spent.
    I don’t like to hear from a non-member what has happened or going on in my church, and that has happened to me on a few occasions. So if this happens someone in regular church attendance of all services how are we suppose to react. I love my church family, but I also want to feel a part of this family.

  • Most every comment from all pastors are about how distasteful the meetings are .very little about actually solving solution for all pastors is to remove themselves and leave all business to be chaired by the chairman of deacons or finance committee .the truth a of the matter is that most pastors do not Want give up control .

    • Biblically, pastors ARE to have control. Biblically, there are no “Chairman” of deacons…and deacons are to serve the Body by taking care of widows, orphans, etc. Giving control to anyone but called Pastor/Bishop/Elders is one of the major problems in many churches today. I can’t recall from scripture, a congregation voting on anything.

      • Oof. The polity downgrade continues at full speed. I’m not saying monthly meetings are required (we have many more tools today to communicate). But a religious assembly that never makes decisions together is more like a theater audience, not a church.

        Consider that, in Acts 6, the Apostles handed back the work of the counting table, not waitressing, to the Congregation. The Congregation then selected Deacons somehow — probably voting. Those leaders had seen Jesus cleanse the Temple, and heard him caution against the religious leaders who devoured widows’ houses and mites. Luke 20:45 – 21:4. They wanted out of the money business, in order to advance the gospel.

        And that feeling survived generations, especially in Baptist reformed churches. As far as I can tell, Spurgeon preached until his Deacons were persuaded to expand his building. He did not demand his Deacons give him control of church finances and ministry.

        In addition to being Biblical, church member meetings are a way to disciple believers about Biblical, group decision-making. Especially about leadership and money issues.

        Is it absolutely efficient? No, sanctification is rarely efficient. But given today’s polls, I can’t help but think American Christians could use that discipling regularly and more often, not less.

      • Phillip Holbrook says on


    • Phillip Holbrook says on

      You sir are very ignorant and judgmental. You’re judging people You have never met and you are judging their motives. May God help you.

  • We didn’t struggle with this at all. Starting with the meeting during the month ending our fiscal year, we simply changed to quarterly meetings. Nobody even noticed, and if they did call the office to check, they were simply told that quarterly was enough.

    I think it was announced at the last monthly meeting, to no objections.

    I believe our church stopped worrying about upsetting those who were looking for things to be upset about. That may be because we have a lot of old members who are happy. I know, since I’m one of them.

    The whole SBC only meets once a year, fer cryin’ out loud ….

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