Feeling the Fall

For those of you in church leadership, I suspect you’re feeling the intensity of the busy fall season.  I’ve only been in full time ministry a little over four years but it didn’t take long to realize that the fall is one of our “crazy busy seasons”.  As everyone settles back into the routine of school, they also tend to recommit to their church routine.  As a result, we as church leaders work to improve, revamp and reengage our ministries.

In addition to all of the ministry initiatives, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that I’m doing with our team.  As the organizational/staff leader of Cross Point, I spend my days working on the foundational elements that I believe are critical to running the business of the organization and stewarding our resources wisely.  Oftentimes churches get criticized for being too much like a business.  I think I understand the sentiment, but I would push back that churches should be run even better than the best businesses out there.

I believe the church should be the best run organization period.

It comes down to stewardship.  I believe I have a responsibility to lead our organization in such a way that we are stewarding all that God has entrusted to us with the utmost integrity.

That means:

  • Developing systems and processes that help train, develop and draw out the strengths & gifts of your staff
  • Rigorous performance plans for staff with measurable goals and frequent discussions about performance
  • Constantly evaluating organizational structure and making changes that best serve the people we are called to reach
  • Creating operating budgets that are scrutinized by several layers of leadership and are evaluated monthly
  • Developing systems, processes and checks & balances for all expenditures
  • Providing avenues for clear and constant communication
  • Challenging the system – the way we’ve always done things, isn’t always still the best way

What would you add to the list?

Do you think it’s possible for the church to be the best run organization in your community?

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  • Nick September 30, 2009  

    Yes, I believe the church should be run like a business in many aspects. Especially in the areas that you listed.

    I don’t have anything to add to the list, my biggest question for myself and our team is where do we begin?
    And how do we implement these strategies in our DNA from the very beginning to be the best run organization in town? And, who on our team can challenge us to get there.

  • amanda September 30, 2009  

    Hi Jenni,

    I had a similar conversation with another teacher today and we decided that you cannot run a school like a business. A school is about people. You have to treat children like people, not like their boss. My principal should treat the teachers like people and we in turn should treat the children like people. She leads us and we lead them. Just as a pastor leads the congregation.

    There is a hierarchy, similar to a business, but if the main goal is reaching people and not selling a product, then it doesn’t have to run like a business. I think that, as Pete and Blake have so poignantly put, people are afraid of the church or stay away from the church because they feel Christians are trying to sell Jesus to them like he’s a product. A business would dress Jesus up in a suit and make him comb his hair to get people to “buy” him. A church can go out and build houses, or deliver school supplies, or go serve in India and truly show people what they are about.

    If the leader in a church doesn’t try to “sell Jesus” but rather reaches the lost, then the church can be the best run organization in town. The church is the people and we are the church. Instead of selling the church, we need to be the church.

  • Debbie Elder September 30, 2009  

    I think you are right on Jenni! I also think that in order to be efficient you need to look at process improvement initiatives. I am sure there are great ways to save the organization/churches money by “leaning” out some of your processes. How much “waste” is there in the organization and get rid of it! But hey, this is the geeky side of me 🙂

  • Jenni Catron October 1, 2009  

    @Amanda – great point about keeping things all about people. As you know that is the heart of Cross Point. I would challenge that your point assumes that all businesses don’t care about people and I would argue that some of the best businesses are extremely people oriented – Zappos & Chick-fil-a are a few that come to mind. There are a lot of really poorly run businesses that I would never want the church to be like, however being all about people doesn’t negate our responsibilities to be good stewards of the people, time and resources that we are entrusted with. That’s how I would define a great business.