Home > Articles > 2012 > Nine Important Reminders for Meeting Preparation

Nine Important Reminders for Meeting Preparation

Nine Important Reminders for Meeting Preparation

Set the stage to make the most of your time together.

Michael C. Mack  |  posted 11/12/2012

"There is always a tendency of the body to sabotage the attention of the mind by providing some distraction," the poet Stephen Spender wrote. Who understands that better than a person in a small-group meeting who cannot focus on spiritual matters because of an uncomfortable atmosphere?

Here are several tips to remember when preparing the physical environment of your meeting to keep participants involved.

  • Meet in a circle. Circles allow group members to see the faces of all other group members and invite everyone to participate. Plus, have everyone at the same eye level.
  • Check the thermostat. It doesn't take many people in a room to increase the temperature. Consider lowering the temperature slightly before group members arrive.
  • Sniff around. We can get so accustomed to the smells in our homes that we don't notice them anymore. Pets, things children spill, heavy perfumes, last night's dinner, and even room deodorizers can irritate people's noses. Consider lighting a few candles or simmering potpourri in the house during meetings. Peppermint is a great idea—research has shown it keeps people alert. But ask your group members if anyone has allergies to artificial scents.
  • Make your meeting tasteful. Straight-from-the-oven brownies, popcorn, or a creatively arranged tray of fruit encourage group interaction. They also let people know that you want them there and that you planned ahead. Be creative and remember to provide healthy options and options for those with special dietary needs.
  • Find the right room size. A small-group meeting may feel intimidating in a huge room. A group of 12 may feel claustrophobic in a small room. Experiment and find the right size for your group.
  • Get close. Get as close as is comfortable. Being too spread out won't foster the right community feel.
  • Let your light shine. But not too brightly. Low lamp lights are better than bright florescent lighting. If you meet in a classroom, try bringing a few table lamps and use them rather than the overhead lights. The lighting should be bright enough that everyone can read their Bibles, but low enough to feel cozy.
  • Assure each person has a copy of what you're studying. Don't allow group members to share—one of them will be less involved in the discussion.
  • Guard against distractions. Turn telephone ringers off (unless parents have children at babysitters and need to be contacted in case of an emergency). If children are being watched in the same house as the meeting, be sure they are as much out of hearing range as possible. Hire childcare providers whom parents can trust so they won't worry. Put pets in another room or outside. And turn off TVs, radios, and computers during the meeting.

—Michael Mack is founder of, a prolific writer of small-group resources, and the author of Small Group Vital Signs; used with permission from the author.

Topics:Atmosphere, Distractions, Hospitality, Meeting, Preparation
Date Added:November 12, 2012

user reviews

Average User Rating: Not rated

Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments


November 14, 2012  12:55am

"Sniff around.." Amen! Lol...

Report Abuse


November 13, 2012  9:04am

Amen! We had a similiar situation here, committee members felt they werent making any progress on their projects/goals because they spent more time "getting in the proper mood" than actually attending to the task at hand. Kind of like drowning in corporate red tape... Many things that could have been accomplished fell aside due to this. Members finally told pastor they refused to continue to do meetings this way as it was detrimental to getting things they thought were important to the church's ministry accomplished. Be careful not to get so caught up in what I call "false worship" that you don't actually accomplish any of the things God has called you to!!

Report Abuse


November 13, 2012  8:52am

Here's something to AVOID at meetings: Our leader meetings at church used to begin with a group prayer, then down to business. Then the pastor added a devotion to get everyone into the "proper mood." Then pastors added singing worship hymns. Then pastors added a mini Bible-Study. It ended up with leaders being at the meeting a full hour before the actual meeting could even begin. We are all long-time leaders (not new Christians or even new to the church), attend worship services regularly, and already participate in other Bible Studies, etc. When people belong to more than one committee this becomes even more time-consuming. Many people have left committees recently because it simply became too time-consuming personally, and on top of that they felt stymied ~ not much gets accomplished at the meetings when they do finally "start" because not much time is left for the actual business of the committee. Keep meetings free for the business!

Report Abuse

Rate and Comment on this article: *



1000 character limit

* Comments may be edited for tone and clarity.

Also of Interest