General Family Council Procedures (As you are just thinking about using Family Councils, we suggest that you review "How to begin - Guide lines, If you have used Family Councils and want a few tip read on.)
Date & Time: Establish date and time that is mutually agreeable with family members. Our experience is that Saturday or Sunday work best. We do not recommend it be held in conjunction with Family Home Evening. It diminishes to purposes of both family meetings.
Agenda: The process for gathering agenda items can vary with families. Putting a draft agenda on the refrigerator worked for us. (Mother can help small children with their items or concern.) Discuss how the agenda works at the initial meeting. We used an Executive Secretary to gather and organize the agenda. For families without children, they might pause before the meeting begins to review and add items they want brought in the council.
Conducting meeting: If an executive secretary has been call, they will conduct the meetings for the period of the call. Otherwise it is advisable to chart the assignment. One of the executive secretary's job is to keep the council on track and on time.
Recording Minutes - The secretary should record summary draft minutes. The minutes should include topic/subject, discussion (if desired), the results and any assignments/reports. Note: We recommend these minutes be kept in the Family Council Workbook for quick reference during the next meeting and for further future research.
After initial meeting Members post agenda items on a draft agenda at the designated location. Executive Secretary formulates agenda with guidance of parents. This will include:
Plan topics and allocation discussion time
A. Family Administration and Devotional with minutes, routine assignments and reports B. Family Life/Mission Tasks with assignments and reports on individual and family tasks 2. Plan Follow up on assignments with guidance of parents. 3. Agenda items from Executive Council and Individual Councils with family members should also be included: Regular Family Council can follow the standard agenda Special Family Councils - can use special councils agenda forms or one of your own creation to consider, Mission Statements, Goals, Rules, Projects, and special family needs.
There are two other types of councils that directly support the Family Council. These are the Executive and Personal councils The executive council generally comprises the heads of household, father, mother and God, there are exception to the standard model. But the functions and issues are the same. The other council is a personal council which comprises, member of the head of household, child and God. These councils can take the form of a personal interview with the child - formal or informal.
Executive Council The father, mother and God make up the members of family Executive Council. A man together with his wife and God when equally yoked together form one of the most powerful and stable units in the world--an equilateral triangle relationship. This equilateral triangle should be the model for all Executive Councils. As Paul wrote: "Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord….”NT I Corinthians 11:11
This Executive Council with husband and wife is the capstone council within the family. Without unity at this level the other councils are a challenge. Husband and wife should discuss their plans, goals, ideas and concerns on family issues and activities in regular meetings prior to a Family Council meeting. (They can use the standard agenda as outline topics for discussion.) An Executive Council may also include an expression of appreciation for the mother or father’s efforts in a particular family project or may focus on the problems of a particular child or family issue.
Sometimes items may also come up in Family Council that needs to be referred to the Executive Council before a decision is made. In this instance the father and mother should signal each other to defer any decision. Husband and wife counseling together with the Lord will insure that the Family Council takes the right and unified direction. This executive committee of the family should meet together often in both formal and informal sessions. They should pray about their decisions and then move forward in faith with God’s help.
Personal Council A Personal Council is a “one-on-one” meeting between a parent/s and child. As with executive council, supplication to God is critical. Reviewing performances, examining attitudes and feelings, discussion of moral values and interpersonal relationships plus establishing goals for future actions can be subject of these councils. Bishop’s do this type of personal interview with teenagers every six months. This recommendation is appropriate as well for families unless more is needed. Bedtime with small children is a good time for informal visits.
The Personal Council is again patterned after the Lord’s example. Find a quiet spot with father (or mother) and child. Always begin and end with vocal prayer. Prayer is and can be a great measure of spiritual insights and strength. (Note: Sometimes an informal meeting and setting are best. Let the spirit be the guide.)
Interviews, while somewhat unstructured may cover: a. How the person feels about themselves. b. How they feel about relations with other family members and what they would change. c. How they feel about their relationship with God- Are their prayers getting though? d. Relationships with friends. e. Current challenges – school, work etc. f. Goals in area of personnel perfection. (Use areas of focus; Spiritual, Social, Physical and Intellectual) g. Specific helps h. Admonition and encouragement i. Expressions of love Conclude with kneeling prayer and a big hug Remember parents are on the Lord's errand to raise their children in light and truth. Many times parents can be part of the solutions to a family members needs. You are in many instances an instrument in God’s hands in meeting the needs of a child as you listen to them and their prayers. Note: Information critical to family life from either of these two types of councils, which do not break confidences, should be included and discussed in the Family Council