Stuff Youth Ministers Like #28: A Parish Staff Meeting Survival Guide

During my nine years as a full-time youth minister, I loved the freedom that came with the job. Everyday I could roll out of bed at 11 a.m., hit the local noon Mass, grab some lunch, and get to the office for a fun-filled day of whatever I had planned.

It was great. It was beautiful, and it worked, except for one day each week.

There was one day a week when this joy was robbed from me like a win from the Green Bay Packers by a bunch of replacement officials.

The one day when I had to reluctantly skip my morning viewing of The Price is Right so I could get to the office early.

And what day was that?

Staff meeting day.

On the surface, it seems harmless enough right? I mean, if you have a staff, you should probably meet with them regularly, but if my parish staff meetings were anything like yours, ministry wasn’t the only topic on the agenda. Frankly, it didn’t even always get top billing. After all we had lots of important items to discuss:

Proper copier usage including which one to use for higher quantity copies.

How to correctly fill out time sheets, especially for those of us who are “never in the office.”

The importance of using 11-point font in all bulletin article entries.

Oh, there are just some things I miss about Parish Youth Ministry. But for those of you still in the trenches, I give you a Parish Staff Meeting Survival Guide. Try these at your own risk:

  1. Take some time to prepare a report on “How a Copier Works.” The next time someone brings up anything to do with a copier, stop them and say, “Excuse me, but I think before we get into this, we really need to understand how a copier works. I’ve prepared this report…”
  2. Count how many times people clear their throat and keep a tally on your notepad. This will make it look like you’re taking good notes. After the meeting, say the number as you’re walking out, but don’t tell anyone what the number means.
  3. Fist bump the person sitting next to you anytime they speak.
  4. Bring along a brown paper bag and place it on your hand, creating a puppet. Anytime someone makes a good point, move your hand up and down and have the puppet say “Good point.”
  5. Place a stack of telephone books on your chair and sit on them so you are several inches higher than everyone else. Pretend like nothing is out of the ordinary. If someone asks what you’re doing, tell them you want to know what it’s like to be a pharmacist.

Obviously, these are all in good fun unless you want to end up on the unemployment line. But a guy can dream can’t he?

Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would have been more intentional about engaging in Parish Staff Meetings. Not only were they a great opportunity to be an advocate for the youth, but they were a chance to genuinely take an interest in the work of my fellow staff members. Maybe if I had done that, they would have taken a greater interest in my ministry.

Question: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever discussed at a staff meeting? (Share below.)

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