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The Hidden Power of Healthy Systems

How Effective Are Your Processes For Accomplishing Your Church's Mission?

I have to smile when people tell me that they are spiritual, but they don’t believe in organized religion. What’s the alternative—disorganized religion? We must have systems to bring structure to our relationships, to apply gifts and skills appropriately, unify our values, and accomplish our corporate purpose.

Leaders have to pay close attention to organizational systems, no matter how unsexy or tedious the work may seem. The reason why is simple: everything we do is dependent on a system. This little dust ball of a planet is spinning within a solar system. I live within a family system. I’m writing on a laptop with a particular operating system. If there were not processes for these different systems to function well, I’d be in trouble. Or consider how the human body is designed with the intricate interdependency and interplay of disparate organs and chemicals. We’re actually doing a “systems analysis” when we go the doctor for a physical. Why would we not do that with the church we’ve been entrusted with? Periodically, an honest audit of our systems, goals, and strategies is vital, whether it’s done internally or by an outside group. Systems don’t have to be complicated (and less so in smaller organizations), but they do have to be clear about the process they are designed to accomplish. No matter how large a church is, questions like these must be answered: 1.  How do people who are far from God find him through us? (evangelism system) 2.  How do we corporately and intimately connect with God? (worship system) 3.  How do we help new people integrate into the life of the church? (assimilation system) 4.  How do we help people grow into the likeness of Christ? (discipleship system) 5.  How do we help people form safe and growing communities? (small groups system) 6.  How are we recruiting/training/releasing leaders? (leadership development system) 7.  How do we think about and plan together our goals and our future? (strategic planning system) 8.  How are we led as a church? (leadership/governance system) 9.  How do we tell each other what we’re doing, where we’re going and why? (communication system) These are all systems questions. The answers won’t be the same for everyone, but they have to be thought through. Developing healthy systems requires forethought, strategy, and planning...and leaders must pay attention to them in order to see a vision accomplished.

Question of the Day: When was the last time you did an honest “systems analysis” in your church?

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches

Check out the Elemental Churches Inventory for a different approach to auditing the health of your church.


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