What a great question! It came from an anonymous survey. Based on the way the question was phrased I could tell it was from a Pastor looking to grow his church and also steward his resources wisely.
So, do systems work for small churches?
The short answer is yes. Well, healthy systems do.
You see, systems create behaviors.
So if your congregation or volunteers are exhibiting certain behaviors, ask yourself this question – what system is creating that behavior?
Example #1: Operations System
I know a couple of small churches that are needs / events driven. They do every event they can, every outreach they can think of.
The result is that volunteers start off passionate and end up tired. They serve all of the time and don’t get to sit down at a service. These are volunteers with families and full time jobs.
Eventually a volunteer quits, and the leadership questions his commitment.
But what if that small church had an operations system, where someone took a look at an event and was able to answer the following questions:
- Does this event help us fulfill our mission?
- Will this event deplete our volunteers?
- What else are we doing that week that requires us to pull on the same resources, finances and volunteers?
Having this system in place would help the Pastor make wiser decisions.
Example #2: Worship Service System
I know of a couple of Pastors who are frustrated because it’s difficult for them to focus solely on preparing for their sermons.
- They counsel,
- handle the finances,
- act as head usher,
- plus a ton of other responsibilities.
The problem is that the most important role the Pastor has is feeding the sheep. But someone has to do the other jobs.
If the Pastor had a Worship Service System – he could have other staff or volunteers help him plan out the weekends.
This would alleviate some of the stress of figuring out what to preach, and what the worship is.
Instead, others would be equally responsible for the weekend services.
And that Pastor would be able to move the church forward faster because he’d be part of a team.
The Biggest Obstacle To Systems
Now there are a ton of obstacles to implementing a system:
- One obstacle is resources – not being able to afford the resources a system requires.
- Another is lack of experience – not having enough experience to find a resolution to a church issue.
- A third is lack of models – not being sure what to do, you need a model you can use as a foundation.
But what I find to be the biggest obstacle to any system is (drum roll please)…
Time!!! It takes uninterrupted time to research and create healthy systems. But who has that kind of time available?
There is a constant pull on Pastors, especially when your resources are limited and you’re responsible for everything.