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Why Policies are Bad for your Church

rules

No, I don’t have a policy for that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to share a Staff Handbook, the hiring process I’ve built and use, budgeting policies, board policies or a whole host of other policies someone is looking to implement at their church. Because the majority of my experience in church-world has been in the role of Executive Pastor most people automatically think, “policies and administration.” My real job is to bridge the gap between vision and reality…but that conversation is for another time. While some policies can be useful and helpful (by the way if they aren’t helpful you shouldn’t have them), I’m actually a minimalist when it comes to policies. And here’s a couple of reasons why…

1. Policies Have a Tendency to Shrink Thinking

Policies are rules that shrink the box of creativity, problem solving, and big ideas. Policies set the standard for how we do what we do every time we do it. And that’s fine if we’re on an assembly line making cars. You want consistency in that situation. But disciple making is not the same thing as making cars.

2. Policies are Anti-Leadership Statements

Leaders want to tell, not be told. Leaders want to build, not be confined. Leaders want to move, not be held back. Policies constantly tell people in the organization what they can’t do, and leaders are solution oriented not excuse or problem oriented. A church with a lot of policies will consistently find it difficult to attract and keep good leaders.

3. Policies Punish Everyone

Policies are designed to punish everyone in the organization everyday for something that someone might do someday.

Please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying all policies are bad. Just that I have a tendency to take a minimalist approach. Less is more when it comes to policies in a church. Only put a policy in place if it’s absolutely necessary. And there are only two reasons in my mind that it’s necessary:

#1 Legal Obligation

#2 It Helps you Make the Vision Real

Photo Credit: Vicki & Chuck Rogers via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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  1. Are Your Policies KILLING Your Leadership? - ChurchPlants - August 19, 2015

    […] written before that policies are anti-leadership statements. Most people think that due to my role as an Executive […]

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