About a year ago we bought some new couches – our first new lounges in over 20 years of marriage and we decided to go for electric recliners. They were on special at Freedom who were having a two for one sale, otherwise I doubt we would have ever considered them.
We’ve loved the new couches – nothing quite like putting the feet up at the end of a hard day – but over the last year as we have held our church leadership meetings in our home I’ve found myself feeling uncomfortable about how they have reshaped the tone of our meetings.
So we’ve held our last few meetings around the kitchen table, and it has shifted the vibe back in a direction I would see as more healthy. Prior to the ‘recliner meetings’ we already had a very relaxed and relational approach to meetings. With the recliners we actually didn’t seem to ‘lose’ a lot by way of interaction and decision making, but I sensed we were working against ourselves and ultimately would begin to accomplish less. We hadn’t got to that place yet, but something was sitting badly in my gut.
The kitchen table is less comfortable – no question – but it brings us close together – it is ‘intimate’ almost and as a result we function a little differently again – a bit like a family… funny that…
I don’t think a lounge room is a bad environment for a church meeting. I’m certainly not up for a ‘board room’, but the kitchen table kinda gives the best of both worlds – an attentive posture, an intimate tone and a sense of connection that comes when you sit closer and ‘lean in’ rather than ‘lean out’.
I realise none of this is rocket science, but its only when you mess around with the physical dynamics of a meeting space that you actually begin to notice how it impacts on actual performance.