Mastering the Art of the One-On-One Meeting


While having church staff group meetings is important for vision casting, team building, brainstorming, and passing on crucial information in an efficient way, the one-on-one meeting is just as vital to building a solid future for your ministry team.

One-on-one meetings provide the opportunity for a variety of strategic goals as well as personal development. It truly is an art form that, over time and with practice, can be highly effective in leadership.

I would like to explore a few ways you can take advantage of this vital leadership tool.

1. Listen Well

Author and Professor David Augsburger of Fuller Seminary says, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

Resist the temptation as a supervisor to move to the place of a solution too quickly. Active listening involves re-stating or paraphrasing what they say to you so that you seek to understand. Ask clarifying questions if needed. Remember hearing is not the same as listening.

For example, when your employee finishes their thought, try responding with, “Thank you for sharing that with me. What I’m hearing you say is…[restate what you understood them to say]…is that correct?”

2. Set Aside A Weekly Appointment

Let your team members know they are important enough to be on your calendar. This will pay high dividends both for you and for them.

First, they will feel valued and know that they will have your attention for a specific time each week. Secondly, an established meeting helps church staff avoid coming to you on a daily basis for needs. When your team knows they have a regularly scheduled opportunity for your undivided attention, they can save all the miscellaneous items for your time together and not constantly be vying for an answer from you.

It’s also important to remember that your staff looks forward to this time and expects to have your attention each week. If you travel, try to meet over the phone or via video call. If you cannot meet them at the regular time, make sure to let them know ahead of time that you value your meeting and need to reschedule to give them your undivided attention.

3. Make it Personal

Connect with your church staff members personally first and foremost to begin your time. Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to take a long time to make a quick yet meaningful personal connection. Let them know you care and ask about their family. Find out if they have plans for the upcoming weekend. Follow up on a sick family member. Getting to know your church staff increases your relational currency.

4. It’s Not All About You

Set aside a portion of your time together to cover projects your employee has been working on. Ask them if they have anything that they need your input on or if there are any resources you can provide to equip them for the project. Leave room for them to bring their worries to you regarding deadlines, budget concerns, or relational issues within the staff.

5. Feedback and Coaching

Guide the conversation to give yourself time to explore items you need to check in with them about. As their supervisor, you are ultimately responsible for the goals set and achieved by your team. Staff members may need feedback and/or coaching related to their behaviors. Remember this can be both positive and constructive. The ratio I recommend is 1:10. Give 10 rounds of positive feedback for every corrective action. This is a good rule of thumb to remember and an important part of the leadership process as you grow personally and as an organization.

6. Don’t Neglect Development

While this doesn’t need to be a regular part of your weekly conversation with your team, make sure personal development is part of your team’s quarterly goals. Be sure to address development opportunities regularly. This will keep your team members both challenged and growing in their field. Have a line item in your budget to allow your church staff members to take continuing education classes, attend conferences, or enroll in an online program.

The one-on-one meeting is part of the foundation of effective leadership practices. Learning this art form will help you to achieve better results with your church staff as well as increase your team’s longevity and ministry effectiveness.

What other practices do you use that are effective in your one-on-one meetings? How have you seen improvement from one-on-one meetings on your staff?