In The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 1, I discussed the first two steps of the process: Clarify the Culture, and Identify the Values. Once the culture of your church has been clarified and the values identified, you can then move on to setting the goals necessary to accomplishing the vision that God has given you for your church. In The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 2, I discussed how to plan your goals and focus your strategy for accomplishing those goals. Click on the links above to read those posts.
Now, we turn our attention to organizing and aligning the systems of your church, and execution of your strategic plan.
Step Five: Organize the Systems
Much of what I have learned about systems thinking in the church has come from my friend and coach Nelson Searcy, the lead pastor of the Journey Church. He has identified eight systems that he uses to organize his church. They are the evangelism, weekend service, small group, leadership, strategy, stewardship, ministry, and assimilation systems. He has written a wealth of information on each of these systems. I highly recommend that you check out his website at Church Leaders Insights. I use a lot of his resources both in my local church and in my coaching and consulting recommendations. In addition to the above systems, I have added the discipleship system. While Nelson would rightly argue that discipleship is really what his eight systems are about, I would suggest that identifying a discipleship system in addition to his eight, brings a greater focus onto the discipleship process.
- Systems are the steps and processes that we design to help us save time and organize various aspects of our ministry. For example, what is the system that you have in place for moving first-time guests into fully-engaged members of your church? Have you created a series of steps that you want every first-time guest to go through until they become a member of the church? How do you follow up with them after their first visit? Their second visit? Their third? The answers to these questions defines the system that you repeat over and over with each person. I will deal with suggestions for various systems in future posts.
- Alignment simply means that each of the systems, ministries, and groups within your church are moving toward the same goal of fulfilling the unique vision that God has given to your church. This working together develops a synergy that drives the vision of your church forward. Alignment, like the systems themselves, needs constant effort and focus to keep your church moving in the same direction. However, when alignment is achieved, your church reaches its full potential for God.
Step Six: Execute the Plan
As I talk with pastors and church leaders, I have observed that the sticking point for almost every church is in the area of execution. Church leaders seem to be fairly good at developing a plan and, perhaps, even setting goals. But few churches are able to execute or carry out the plan at all. Even fewer churches are able to consistently carry out the plan over an extended period of time.
Three things are necessary to consistently execute any newly changed pattern of ministry:
1. Focus must remain on the area being developed until it becomes a part of the church culture. Culture always trumps the unique vision for your church. Until you have repeated the new habit long enough to change the culture (the way people do things), they will always revert back to their old culture.
2. Leadership must be developed through both upfront and on-the-job training. Through the use of job descriptions, training, and mentoring, a system of leadership is developed that will encourage the new habits and provide an environment for sustained change.
3. A system of feedback accountability must be in place where people are held accountable for their new habits and patterns of ministry. Too often accountability is seen as something negative. Rather, it is a way to encourage people in their new habits and behaviors. The old adage “what gets rewarded gets repeated” speaks to this accountability process.
Next time we will look at steps 7 and 8 of the Strategic Church Leadership Process. Until then…
Do you have a process in place for each of the nine systems of the church? If not, which ones have you begun? Which ones need improved? Which ones do we need to begin?
Are your systems in alignment? Are they all working toward the same goals and unique vision for our church? If not, what steps do you need to take to get them in alignment?
Do you have a plan that you have failed to execute? Then…JUST GET STARTED!