Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pipes in the Wall

Every building has pipes in the wall. They are necessary. They don’t need to be seen, but they do need to be there and they need to function properly. They are hidden and out of the way, yet serve a vital purpose.

When it comes to church government, church structure, organizational flow charts, and other internals systems, the same is true. They need to be there but shouldn’t be overly visible to the average person in the church. They need to be like pipes in the wall – they work behind the scenes.

Instead, the mission, vision, and ministries of the church should be the most visible driving force in the church. Not its policies, procedures, rules, or regulations. Structure should be simple. It’s not necessary to create a lengthy document to cover every conceivable circumstance that might arise in our church. Think of it this way: We have bylaws, internal procedures, and chains of command that keep things running orderly, but we are free to do more if necessary – and we don’t need a Thomas Jefferson to write us an amendment to the bylaws get things done.

Structures should serve the church (like pipes in the wall do) rather than the other way around. I once knew a church that had over fifteen committees running things. When the pastor wanted to hire a youth pastor, the personnel committee asked him to collect resumes. Then the finance committee got involved. By the time the other committees got involved in the process, four months had gone by. Everybody who had submitted a résumé was no longer available. That’s a broken system and this church was handicapped by its own structure.

You can read more about our systems here.

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