Tearing Down Ministry Silos

One of the common challenges that I see in churches that are stuck is ministry silos. Another word for this is departmentalization. Multiple unique individual ministries operating under one roof. Most churches don’t set out this way, but over time they naturally drift towards ministry silos and operating independently from one another. Instead of working with one another, ministries end up competing for volunteers, budget resources, facility space, announcement time, and so on.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact here are 5 steps you can take to begin to get rid of silo thinking and behaviors at your church.

1. Share the Mission, Vision & Values

Clearly articulate one mission, vision and set of value statements for the church and then set the expectation that each ministry will live those out within their own context and audience. Allowing segment ministries to develop their own values, vision or mission statements fuels silo thinking.

2. Get rid of Sub-Ministry Brands

Call things what they are. Children’s Ministry is Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry is Student Ministry (and so on). When you allow segment ministries to develop their own sub-brands not only is it confusing to new people who attend the church to navigate but it encourages silo thinking (it’s also more expensive).

3. Coordinated Calendaring Process

Instead of each ministry having their own separate ministry calendars, do the work of annually planning one coordinated ministry calendar for the year. This will force the team to work cooperatively, communicate with one another, understand what each other are doing, and get rid of competing events. You can even take 5 minutes in a meeting once a month to review the upcoming month together and make sure everyone is on the same page.

4. Budget Together

Instead of having each ministry build a budget in isolation and then turn that proposal into an individual or board to make decisions, come together as a team and present your proposals to one another. Then work together to come up with a holistic ministry budget approach for the next ministry year. You know you’re getting somewhere when ministry leaders begin to sacrifice financially for one another when they see a proposed initiative or idea from a different segment ministry gets the church further, faster.

5. Replicate Best-Practices

Don’t waste time and energy with every ministry department coming up with their own systems for how to do Guest Services, Volunteering, Mission trips, etc. Instead, identify your best practices and the unique approach your church takes to each of these things and then replicate them in each ministry.

Photo Credit: dawn_perry via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership

2 Responses to “Tearing Down Ministry Silos”

  1. John Mulholland December 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Number 5 is great. Until someone thinks that you are trying to take their job from them or that you’re in “their” territory (which is why silo’ing is bad!!).


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