In his training book, Next Steps for Leading a Missional Church, Gary Rohrmayer says, “You need systems which are reproducible and interconnected processes; by which your church actualizes and achieves its mission.” Your values drive your practices and your practices determine your results. You need to ask if your systems are producing what you want them to produce. Honest evaluation is needed. Is your leadership development system producing the leaders you expected? Is your evangelism system producing converts?
Our body has systems such as circulatory, nervous, and respiratory. If one system fails we can find ourselves in quite a predicament. When our systems function well we call ourselves healthy! Each system has an essential task to complete in a specific manner so that the rest of the body can continue to function properly. The systems rely and depend on one another. That is why church systems are so important because they put the essential processes in place that will help your church remain healthy and give it the ability to multiply.
- You need to ask if the system you have built is reproducible. Can it be easily understood and implemented? Is it confusing to figure out and follow? How does the system contribute to the reproductive nature of the church?
- You should ask if the systems are interconnected. How does the system connect with the rest of the systems needed? Does it compliment and help the other systems? Are the systems mutually benefiting the other systems through healthy cooperation? The healthier the system the healthier the church will be.
Do you have systems in place that provide a clear pathway for involvement and personal growth? When you are developing systems you need to think through these steps.
- You need to consider mission outcomes. What results are you looking to achieve?
- Consider how it assists in ministry flow? What are the steps needed to achieve those results?
- Does it fit in your organizational structure? Who will ensure that those results are being achieved? Who is responsible to make this happen and have they been adequately trained?
- Think through a clear communication flow. How will you cast vision in a way that keeps people informed and involved as you achieve your goal?
- Then you need to be able to start charting your course. How will you keep your structures effective? There must be constant evaluation and check-up! Remember, your systems are meant to actualize and achieve your church’s mission. Are they? This is the importance of taking the time to work on your ministry not just in your ministry. Plan your Work and then Work your Plan!
Build margin into your ministry for reflection and application. Evaluating your church systems requires asking great question about all of your systems whether that is assimilation, outreach , finance, worship planning, or discipleship.
- Do you have a functioning system for those areas and ministries?
- What parts of each system are working well?
- What new parts of each system would you like to implement?
- Who will you ask to help you with each system?
- As you evaluate you are always asking; what needs to be done and who needs to do it?
Make sure you also decide:
- What pieces of each system will you upgrade in the next 3-4 months?
- What do you hope to accomplish within the next 6 months?
- Then think through realistically what it will take 12-18 months to implement.
This process will move forward when you have a leadership team in place that understands what needs to be done, who is going to get it done and when it needs to be done by. Two of the greatest dangers of any ministry is first an unwillingness to evaluate and secondly, an unwillingness to utilize and implement what you discovered in the process.
When evaluating systems here are three things to think through to help in this process of actualizing and achieving your church’s mission.
- It will require an assessment. If you are taking a look at your outreach system you must be able to describe its current condition. What are your strengths and weaknesses in your present outreach system? Assessment requires figuring out what needs to change, why, and how. Second, it will require envisioning an implementation plan. Transformation begins with defining your present reality.
- You must envision your preferred future so you can then develop steps to get there. That is what a system does by providing a clear process. You begin to think through 3-5 changes you can make in the next 90 days that will make a difference in your outreach system. You must also decide how committed you are to making those changes. On a scale of 1-10 how important is the change to you and are you willing to pay the price to make sure there is a change? DCPI says if you are inclined to rate it less than a seven then it probably will not change.
- Then for change to occur begin setting goals. These are specific goals you believe are strategic and necessary for moving your church forward and becoming more effective. These goals must be specific, attainable, and time sensitive. What is the deadline for these goals to be implemented and who is responsible and accountable for them to actually happen? Here is something to never forget about vision and seeing it become a reality: Avision written down on paper does not ensure that it is accomplished – people do!
Effective churches utilize systems to carry out the vision that God has given them. You need a team approach that helps encourage quality through careful and prayerful evaluation. Do your practices confirm what you say your values are? Values drive our practices and our practices determine out results!