Hello fellow (and new) Cat Herders!
I recently wrote about standardization and structure in a blog “Herding Cats: Why Church Structure,” in which I shared that one of the most common themes I find in the churches I work with is the lack of basic structure. I’d like to elaborate on that concept and dive deeper into a key action that is required to create a church structure.
The Walking Wounded
Let’s first start by sharing that as a church continues to grow standardization becomes necessary to continue effectively meeting the needs of the people (including guests) in your church. I think you would agree that when we stop and analyze how well we are doing as a church body that we all need to take action to stop what I call “the bleeding out effect.”
The bleeding out effect is simply what happens when those who are hurting, lost, or wounded (bleeding) come to the church seeking a solution to stop their bleeding. Through a series of different causes, some of which is tied to standardization, those individuals never receive what they are seeking from the church and they seep out of the church through our gaps. They begin bleeding out, still walking around hurting, lost and now with open wounds.
The action I referred to earlier that is required to create a church structure is a paradigm shift. Here are some of the action items to accomplish a Paradigm Shift:
- Mandated changes
- Creating/Revising Processes
- Data Centrality
Almost all of these bullet points are viewed as bad words in church staff circles – literally. You bring up these words in any church staff meeting and watch the Pastors, Clergy and Ministry Directors cringe like you said a bad word. It’s almost funny!
Here is my theory why that happens. Most ministry leaders would agree that when they were hired they were not given any structure. They were given a ministry or group of people to oversee and lead, given a title with great responsibility, and maybe, just maybe, administrative help. As a result, they found ways or resources or people that could help make ministry happen. Which means, if they were given no direction no structure they probably also were not given direction on how the church software is used. Which means they PROBABLY ARE NOT GOING TO EVER USE IT!
What ends up happening is churches without realizing it alienate their ministry leaders from using church software before they ever learned what it could do. The end result is what I call The Silo Effect.
The Silo Effect
The Silo Effect happens organically as a byproduct of the environment I described above. We can’t slap ministry leaders on the hand for being resourceful, that’s the reality of what most were doing when they started using Excel docs, Word docs, Google Calendars and the like to store information or communicate with people.
But what occurs when church’s are plagued with the silo effect is gaps begin to form in between the silos, there is no way for the silos to communicate and share information.
To close the gaps a Paradigm Shift needs to take place to reduce the depth of those silos. Silos will still take place to achieve their ministry focus, we just want their depth to be minimal.
There are huge benefits to adopting and implementing a paradigm shift. The number one benefit – for the sake of the Kingdom. I’m not trying to sound righteous, I’m being completely transparent, that’s what is at stake, Beloved. When we don’t collectively share information within our church and across ministries, sharing information about the people we minister to, from first time guests to shut ins, we create gaps.
How Effectively are we Ministering?
Here is the question to pose within your church to gauge how you’re doing in this area: How effectively are we ministering to, providing care to, those we’ve been entrusted to?
That’s part of shepherding and discipleship, providing care. We provide care by sharing relevant information with other ministry leaders and other staff members. We do that best when we leverage our ACS Tech/The City products to their fullest capability.
Before unbelief and paralysis sets let me say this: It is not impossible to achieve this. Tune in next month and I’ll continue sharing on The Paradigm Shift and more benefits! Until then, consider the impossible and remember with God all things are possible, especially related to His Kingdom and the impact He desires your church to make where He’s planted you.
G-o-o-o-o Cat Herders! T-e-a-m, break!