Working on Church Systems

"Your system is perfectly designed to get the results that you're getting."

Over the past several years, probably more than I care to admit, I've been reading on the importance of healthy, functional systems in the church.  A system is a set of interacting components which form an integrated whole.  That may sound like a weird definition and may seem even weirder to think that the church would need anything like this... but so much of how the church works depends on healthy systems.  Here are a few examples:

  • Integration System:  how do first time guests at the church become fully integrated into the church family?
  • Volunteer System: how do people begin serving in the church's different ministries and how are they equipped to do so?
  • Leadership System: how are new leaders recognized and setup to lead in the church?
  • Care System: how are the spiritual and physical needs of those inside and outside the church met?
The more I read and study these different types of systems the more I'm convinced of their incredibly importance in the church.  Because every church, whether they realize it or not, have all these types of systems... they are either aware of them and working them to their advantage... or they are not aware of the system and it is produce the results that the unknown system is creating...

As my church has been in transition for the past number of years.  We've been in the transition of going from a smaller church model to a mid-sized church model.  And the key in this transition has been systems... which systems do we actually have and are working on... and which systems just seem to be happening (and rather poorly) because they don't get the time and energy they need...

However, the more I read about these incredibly important systems the more I'm realizing just how hard it is to make these transitions!  Every book, seminar, blog, tweet, and conference on the subject always has left me with the idea that it's easy to get these systems into your church.  IT'S NOT!  It's hard!  Why?  Maybe it just has to do with organizational change... maybe it's a part of the transition from small to mid-sized ministry... not sure why... I just know that in the 3 years I've been trying to implement some of these needed changes we always seem to default back to the model of "the pastor will do it" :)

Over the course of the next few months I'm putting more and more of my time and energy into getting a number of these systems together.  My hope is to be blogging more about this process so that I can get feedback and suggestions from others who have gone through similar transistions.  Please feel free to comment or drop me a line on your experience with church systems and how you've moved your church forward in this area of ministry.


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