Tag Archive - department

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Top Posts of 2014 #10: “What if Home Depot Functioned like a Church?”

For the next couple of days I’m going to be counting down the top 10 posts from 2014 here on Helping Churches Make Vision Real. These are the posts that generated the most traffic, comments, and were the most shared on social media. The most popular topics this year had to do with strategic planning, insider focused churches, leadership, church growth, teams, and even pastors wives. We start off with a post that I wrote just a week ago but has quickly gained traction and shot into the top 10 posts of the year (that was fast…if only all of my posts were that good).

For the last month we’ve been getting ready for Christmas at my house and that means multiple trips to Home Depot. The first trip to pick up the Christmas tree and then back again to get more lights because the ones from last year don’t work this year. Then yet another trip for a new Christmas tree stand because the stand from last year doesn’t work. Oh, and I need a new pack of staples for the staple gun to put up the Christmas lights. And so on. You get the idea.

After spending half of the holiday season in the local Home Depot, I started thinking about how different Home Depot is from the majority of churches I’ve visited over the years, and what it would look like if Home Depot functioned like most churches in America.

  • Instead of everyone in the store wearing an orange Home Depot apron, each department would have it’s own uniquely colored apron.
  • Instead of having a hardware department and an appliance department, they would have really cool names like Ignite, Epic, and J.A.M. that are completely confusing to new customers.
  • Of course each department would have it’s own logo instead of using the one that’s already on the outside of the store.
  • Instead of having clear way finding and signage that easily directs you to what you’re looking for you’d have to aimlessly wander around hoping to find the power tools or stop a complete stranger and ask for directions.
  • Instead of picking up one flyer at the entrance of the store that has all the sale adds in it, you’d have to pick up printed material at each unique department and of course they would all have their own logos on them and look like they came from different stores.
  • The store would only be open on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights.
  • Customers would be able to vote on who the store manager was going to be and then appoint a board made up of the best customers who then get to tell the store manager what to do.
  • This special board made up of the best customers would also get to decide what products the store sold and what kinds of other customers were allowed to shop at the store.
  • If you were in the electric department and had a question about plumbing, the electric department employee would have no idea how to help you because electricity and plumbing have nothing to do with each other.

While we all know that the Church is not a business, I hope this post challenges some of your thinking about the Church. And I hope you got a good laugh at this tongue in cheek approach to the conversation.

What else would you add to the list?

Photo Credit: JeepersMedia via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

2

What if Home Depot Functioned like a Church?

For the last month we’ve been getting ready for Christmas at my house and that means multiple trips to Home Depot. The first trip to pick up the Christmas tree and then back again to get more lights because the ones from last year don’t work this year. Then yet another trip for a new Christmas tree stand because the stand from last year doesn’t work. Oh, and I need a new pack of staples for the staple gun to put up the Christmas lights. And so on. You get the idea.

After spending half of the holiday season in the local Home Depot, I started thinking about how different Home Depot is from the majority of churches I’ve visited over the years, and what it would look like if Home Depot functioned like most churches in America.

  • Instead of everyone in the store wearing an orange Home Depot apron, each department would have it’s own uniquely colored apron.
  • Instead of having a hardware department and an appliance department, they would have really cool names like Ignite, Epic, and J.A.M. that are completely confusing to new customers.
  • Of course each department would have it’s own logo instead of using the one that’s already on the outside of the store.
  • Instead of having clear way finding and signage that easily directs you to what you’re looking for you’d have to aimlessly wander around hoping to find the power tools or stop a complete stranger and ask for directions.
  • Instead of picking up one flyer at the entrance of the store that has all the sale adds in it, you’d have to pick up printed material at each unique department and of course they would all have their own logos on them and look like they came from different stores.
  • The store would only be open on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights.
  • Customers would be able to vote on who the store manager was going to be and then appoint a board made up of the best customers who then get to tell the store manager what to do.
  • This special board made up of the best customers would also get to decide what products the store sold and what kinds of other customers were allowed to shop at the store.
  • If you were in the electric department and had a question about plumbing, the electric department employee would have no idea how to help you because electricity and plumbing have nothing to do with each other.

While we all know that the Church is not a business, I hope this post challenges some of your thinking about the Church. And I hope you got a good laugh at this tongue in cheek approach to the conversation.

What else would you add to the list?

Photo Credit: JeepersMedia via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

2

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

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5 Self-Inflicted Wounds that Keep Churches Stuck

Churches get stuck for all kinds of reasons. And while no church I’ve ever worked with has ever set out with the goal of being stuck, most eventually become stuck at some point along the way. Unfortunately the majority of churches that are stuck get that way not because of some insurmountable obstacle that is put in place by the enemy, but rather they become stuck due to self-inflicted wounds.  Bad decisions that seem right in the moment, but lead to the church being stuck. Here are a few common self-inflicted wounds I’ve seen happen to churches:

1. Blended Worship Services

In an effort to make everyone happy churches often attempt blend multiple in-congruent worship styles together into one service. The result? Instead of making everyone happy, everyone is frustrated because no one really gets what they want. This has failed over and over again, and yet I still see churches try to do blended services. They simply don’t work.

2. Quick Hires

Quick hires are usually hires based on convenience not mission. Every new hire you make either moves you closer to your mission or further away. It either helps you become more of who God wants you to be and further galvanizes your culture or erodes it. Sure, fire quickly. But hire slowly, because you put your culture at stake every time you make a new hire.

3. Departmentalizing Ministries

Occasionally I’ve been asked this question by a well-meaning church attender, “How much money does the church give to missions?” My reply is always the same, “100%., the whole thing is missions.” They quickly clarify that what they’re really asking, “Is how much money is sent overseas?” I could write a couple of posts on this subject, so I’ll spare you. Suffice to say, those of you who know me, understand how much the nations, not just our neighbors, mean to me. But ultimately that question leads to departmentalization. Churches get stuck when they create a missions department, discipleship department, or worship department etc. The whole thing is evangelism. The whole thing is discipleship. The whole thing is worship. This kind of thinking leads to silos and competing systems…and ultimately being stuck. Like I said…I can get rambling on that one.

4. Keeping Christians Happy

Many churches have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the church is for. Instead of being for people who have not yet said yes to following Jesus, many churches fall into the trap of believing they exist to provide nice safe programing for Christians for the purpose of biblical education. They eventually become insider focused and begin making decisions based on who they want to keep instead of who they want to reach. By the way I’m not sure God’s as interested in the happiness of his people as He is their holiness.

5. Feeding the Past

Ministry programs that experienced success in the past should be celebrated, just not fed. Everything drifts from the future to the past. Ministry that once reached outsiders eventually drifts towards impacting insiders and needs to be reinvented or it will ultimately become obsolete.

 Is your church stuck in one of these or another area? The Unstuck Group, the consulting firm I’m a part of specializes in helping church get unstuck. We’d be happy to help you move from where you are, to where God wants you to be. Let’s talk!


Posted in Leadership