Tag Archive - dysfunction

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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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Embracing Conflict in the Church

There’s an unhealthy presupposition in a large majority of churches in America that conflict is bad and should be avoided at all costs. After all if we’re all Christians shouldn’t we all just somehow magically get along? When conflict is avoided all kinds of negative things happen. But when it’s handled well, even properly encouraged it can be a team leaders greatest asset.

Healthy Conflict is a Pathway to Intimacy

When conflict is pressed into instead of shied away from, the team learns to address issues in an honest and straightforward manner. Attacking the problem, not the person. The best ideas are allowed to surface, unhealthy behavior is corrected, and the mission of the church takes ground. The best byproduct of healthy conflict is it provides the opportunity for greater depths of trust to be built on the team. By the way if you’re looking for a healthy model for Biblical conflict check out Matthew 18.

Unhealthy Conflict is a Pathway to Dysfunction

Unhealthy conflict leads to politics, posturing, and silos. Among other things a culture of enablement is built, problems get bigger, passive aggressive behavior is more common, and rumors abound. Ultimately the unity of the team is at stake and the advancement of the mission of the church slows to a crawl at best.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Top 5 Posts from May

Thank you for making the month of May an incredible month on Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s so encouraging to read the comments and see the interaction through social media about the content and articles that are posted here! It’s encouraging to hear stories about how different posts have been helpful. So thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

#1 “5 Reasons it’s Good When People Leave Your Church”

What if I told you that people leaving your church can actually be a good thing? Maybe even the best thing? In this post I share 5 reasons it’s actually good when people leave your Church.

#2 “Church Boards Gone Wild”

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. In this post I share the 4 stages of growth that a Board goes through and what they should be doing at different stages of church growth.

#3 “Chick-fil-A Leadercast: Andy Stanley”

If you missed the Chick-fil-A Leadercast then you missed out on some great content! But no worries you can catch up quick. I posted my notes and thoughts from each of the sessions! In this session Andy Stanley shared 3 questions that bring simplicity and clarity to leadership.

#4 “Do Denominational Labels Matter Anymore?”

It used to be that whatever denominational label you wore provided some clear context as to who you were and where you were coming from. Not so much anymore. In this guest post by my friend Matt Willmington we take an honest look at this tough question.

#5 “Avoiding the Multisite Mothership Syndrome”

Originally written as a guest post on TonyMorganLive, I share 5 key things I’ve learned about leading in a multisite church environment.

As a bonus check out “10 Questions to Answer Before You Begin a Building Campaign at Your Church”  a guest post by my friend Luke Simmons that got a lot of traffic this past month as well!


Posted in Leadership

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Church Boards Gone Wild

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Boards become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons. But more often than not they become dysfunctional because those involved simply don’t understand their role or what the function of the Board is. What is more, those involved with the Board fail to understand what the church needs from them as a Board at the different stages of growth that the church experiences. Below are the 4 basic stages that a Board goes through as a church experiences growth.

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Posted in Leadership