AGM’s don’t have to be boring

Last night we had a great AGM – we had done all the ‘business’, if business be the word, by 9.15pm, and were then ready enjoy the company of one another over a glass of sparkling grape juice.

We divided our church’s AGM into five sections. As is our custom with church meetings, we had an informal beginning at 7.30 pm. ‘Come and pray’ was the title for this first part of the meeting. After an opening act of worship in which we focussed on God’s faithfulness in song, Scripture and prayer, we shared news of the fellowship, prayed for those who needed God’s special touch on their lives, and then wrote cards to the people concerned. Yes, greeting cards and pens were handed out, and members were encouraged to select a name and write a brief note of encouragement. The cards were then gathered up, with a view to them then being sent out by our pastoral deacon to those who were on our hearts that evening. It’s amazing how appreciated these cards are.

By 8 pm we were ready to move on to the formal business. The minutes of the last church meeting were confirmed (there was no need to read them out, because they had already been available on the web-site as also on a church notice board). We noted that the leadership team had approved six applications for church membership; accepted with sadness the resignation of one young man; and then stood to give thanks for the life of an older member who had passed away the previous week. Within some 10 minutes we were then ready to move on to the second section of the meeting

Come and praise’ was the title. Within the context of praise as senior minister I presented the first part of my annual report – drawing attention to the way in which God had blessed us as a church over the past year. The presentation didn’t take more than 5 minutes, because my report had been previously circulated – both electronically as also as a hard copy. Space was then given for members to share how they felt God had blessed us. Then, still within the context of praise, we moved to the presentation of the annual accounts. This too was the briefest of reports –three figures were put up on the screen: income, expenditure, and surplus! Having been assured that the detailed accounts (available to those who had wished to see them) had been approved by the leadership team in their role as trustees, the church simply accepted them. Hallelujah! A further brief presentation was made of how God had continued to bless us financially since the end of the financial year – and then we had reason to praise God for his goodness in the singing of three songs of praise.

Thereupon we moved into the third section of the meeting: ‘Come and reflect’. The question at issue was: ‘How have we done this past year?’. To answer the question I presented the second part of my report as senior minister. I drew attention to the main components of the church’s strategy:

We will excite fresh hope and faith in God; we will ensure every member feels they belong; we will empower God’s people to witness; we will help every member to grow in their faith; we will help every member reach their potential to serve others.

We ended up by recognising that while there is always room for improvement, nonetheless with God’s help much had been achieved – and for this we praised God.

Come and look forward’ was the theme of the fourth section. At this point I handed over to my two associate ministers – for within four months or so I shall be retiring. So with great enthusiasm they shared their hopes for the next 12 months:

engaging with our community and helping people to progress in their journey of faith; encouraging the welcoming of newcomers; extending our home groups; enlarging our structures of pastoral care.

Thank God my colleagues have no desire for the church to stand still during the impending transition, but rather they are determined that the church will move forward. And so we ended the meeting by breaking into small groups, and prayed God’s blessing on the church.

Having prayed, we sang again, said the grace together, and were ready to move into the final section of the meeting – ‘Come and celebrate’ in which we drank sparkling grape juice together and enjoyed one another’s company. It was a great uplifting, inspiring AGM – and not the least boring!

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