The minutes of church business meetings are important because they are meant to correctly reflect proceedings that affect church membership and the business decisions made by the church body. They are legal documents, and because of that, they should be recorded correctly, including any business transactions or motions that are adopted.
Preparing for the Meeting
Look over the agenda and familiarize yourself with each item. Prior to the meeting, make an outline based on the agenda, leaving space for actions taken during the actual meeting.
Include the date and meeting place at the top as well as the presiding officer’s name (perhaps the pastor or deacon). Leave room to include the meeting time and the time of adjournment.
If the church requires people who want to speak to sign up prior to the meeting, include that list with the notes. You also can send around an attendance sheet once the meeting begins. Map out the seating so you can keep up with people as they speak.
Recording the Meeting
While it might be tempting to record everything, don’t. Focus on the discussion, take some notes and then summarize later, but while the discussion still is fresh in your mind. Take particular note of major points that are raised and any actions taken.
Take notes either on a laptop or on a legal pad; you may wish to use shorthand. Backing up your notes with a recording isn’t necessary but it is a good idea since yours is the official record.
If you aren’t sure who is speaking, make notes about her appearance and ask questions later.
After the Meeting
Transcribe notes as soon as possible so that you don’t lose your train of thought. Waiting may cause important decisions and discussion to be lost in translation.
Ask the facilitator to approve the minutes as soon as possible and then make sure they are submitted to the church’s governing body.
Check for typographical errors. Be certain the time, date and location are recorded correctly. If the meeting opened or closed in prayer, make sure you have noted the responsible party. Make sure you have noted all actions, adoptions and transactions.
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