A look at Meeting Minutes
Why do we have meeting minutes? What purpose do they serve?
First and foremost, meeting minutes are a business document; they are legally required as evidence of the business’ existence, serve as a form of business history, and are a legally discoverable document. They will contain the date and time of the meeting (both opening and adjournment times). Our board meeting minutes list out all attendees, highlighting not only those board members present and absent, but also others in attendance. Should anyone arrive late or leave early, this is also noted and becomes important in cases where sensitive issues are discussed in their absence.
Minutes should cover every item presented on the agenda. As a result we use the agenda as the framework within which we take minutes. By default, it also then captures a list of all documents distributed prior to the meeting as pre-read material. During the meeting, key discussions points are captured, as well as all actions, motions, and votes. Should the board need to go into executive session, that will also be noted in the minutes.
Minutes are not a transcription or narrative of everything said at the meeting. They are recorded at a high level to frame the discussion around the agenda topic and highlight key points presented or considered. Draft minutes are circulated to attendees for review following the meeting to ensure minutes accurately reflect what was covered in the meeting. Current practice is that they are then approved as part of the consent agenda at the following board meeting, but the board is shifting practice to make them available sooner. Only approved minutes are uploaded to the church’s website. You can view our archive at this link.