What’s an Annual Meeting?

Aside from the obvious, of course.

Most churches have parish-wide meetings. St. Stephen’s is no exception. We have one annually at the beginning of the calendar year to do the most basic business of the church.

  1. We give reports of the year that was.
  2. We preview the year to come.
  3. We elect some new leadership.

It’s a ritual which brings with it a sense of obligation and expectation.

For many, these obligations and expectations come in the form of certain specifics: the economic performance of the church, its investments, and its leadership.

For others, it is the election of one-third of our vestry (our governing body) to three-year terms.

Still others are more focused on the vision, hoping to hear where we are going in the next year.

And among all these groups are people who just want to get it over with. To be totally honest, I can be one of those people.

But do you know what’s missing from these expectations?


Why we get together. Why it’s important to take on our fiduciary responsibilities and care about our leadership and focus. Without purpose, we’re not likely to value the meeting or our church’s mission at all. We’ll worry more about balance sheets than the ministries we create.

Like teachers who don’t love education or lawyers who don’t love the law, Christians who don’t love the missio dei  (mission of God) aren’t likely to be effective or yield results. Or demonstrate much love for Christ at all.

Our annual meeting isn’t simply an opportunity to get together, do our business, and go home without any focus or direction toward the very love of God and our call to share it with the world. This is the purpose of our gathering.

It’s our chance to get together and see how we’re doing against that mission. To look ahead at this year and see how we might be called to better embody that mission. And make sure we have the leaders best equipped to guide us on that mission.

Our vestry begins each meeting with a time of learning and ends each meeting with a homework assignment. Because leadership begins with ongoing discernment. And it’s maintained by a constant focus on the purpose, not just the particulars.

Grace and Peace,