Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Honest Evaluation....

One of the reasons new churches are so effective in reaching people for Christ is because they are typically very lean. The leadership structure is simple. The ministry strategy is very focused. The mission is clear. Unencumbered, ministry leaders are free to be creative and launch initiatives.

But as a church ages the ministry strategy gets more complex. New programs and events get layered on, one after another, without ever removing ineffective programs. The agenda gets bloated. Church growth eventually slows down or plateaus altogether as the complexity increases. The typical response is to add even more structures or systems to fix the problem. Big mistake. This is the very time when programs must be slashed and the whole church needs to get back to basics. The solution is found in doing less, not more.

PCC, like other churches, has gradually drifted towards a complex matrix of varied ministries. These ministries, each with its own champion for the cause, are competing internally for resources, attention, support, and use of the building. We want to avoid the turf battles, volunteer raids, and budget wars that usually follow this kind of scenario. To that end, we are going to be taking steps to fix things:

1. We will not become a federation of sub ministries. Pace Community Church is one unified body – not a federation of sub ministries. We have one mission and one purpose statement. Our staff and volunteers do not belong to a particular ministry; they belong to PCC and serve our church “through” that ministry. Each ministry does not need it’s own website – our main website should have all the content. Each ministry does not need its own advertising budget – our church’s outreach budget covers that effort for everyone. We are not building a house of separate brands; we are one brand.

2. Staff members and ministry leaders must have a CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE about the ROLE of their ministry. People sometimes get tunnel vision. They operate their ministry in a certain corner of the church and lose sight of the bigger picture. The only vision they have is for their own ministry and its needs, and don’t fully embrace the vision of the church. If not corrected, some people will actually begin to think that their ministry is autonomous (independent of the church) and that the only role of the church is to make them and their ministry successful. That is a wrong perspective. Actually, it’s the other way around. Each ministry exists by permission of PCC and the role of these ministries is to serve mission of Pace Community Church.

Instead of asking “What’s best for my ministry?” staff members and ministry leaders should start asking, “What is best for the church?” In other words, sometimes changes need to be made in certain areas (i.e, small groups, teens, children, seminars, hospitality, building usage, etc,), and when those changes are made the guiding principle is NOT what kind of impact will it have upon that specific ministry, but rather what kind of impact it will have upon the church as a whole. If we scale something back or if we increase our efforts in a certain area, it’s for the benefit of the whole. It’s not about you - it’s about the church. It’s not personal - it’s about the bigger picture. Each ministry exists to serve Pace Community Church; not the other way around.

3. We are going to do less. Look. We can’t do everything. We can’t implement every idea. We can’t authorize every kind of ministry that everyone is passionate about. It’s just that simple. To do so diffuses energy and gets the church running off in too many directions at once. To combat this trend we will keep ourselves decidedly simple at PCC, limiting our ministries to about five areas only. Read more here and here. I have written about this before.

To ensure that the most important and productive ministries thrive, it is necessary for us to periodically cut competing systems or programs from the church docket. We just have to SAY NO to some ideas. Even though they would broaden our ministry they would also blunt our impact. For instance, from the beginning we decided not to have choirs, mid-week church services, Sunday night worship services, Easter cantatas, Christmas specials, and a host of other good but potentially competitive programs. There is nothing wrong with any of these programs or ministries. But for us, we can’t do everything that comes along.

4. A significant investment is going to be made in emerging and future leaders who understand these principles. My number one priority is to raise up leaders who get it. I’m looking for people who are loyal to the vision and mission of PCC (which, btw, is the Great Commission). I'm looking for people who understand that the big picture is more important than the little picture. Loyalty to PCC's vision is something we expect because our church can never grow if our leaders are not loyal to the vision of this church.

We will never allow our vision from God to get hijacked by anyone. If we permit people to do their own thing we will wake up one day and not even recognize the ministry that we have allowed to be created. I want PCC to grow and that can’t happen if everyone goes off on a tanget and does what they want to do. Everyone, including myself, must operate withing the boundaries of our mission, statements, and strategy.

It is the job of all ministry leaders at Pace Community Church to carry out the DNA of our church. The leaders that will take this church to the next level are those who know our vision, teach our vision, operate within our vision, and fulfill our vision. These will be the people who are appointed and delpoyed. These are the people who we will deeply invest in.

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