As we listen to and work with hundreds of church across the country, one message typically comes through in nearly every conversation. Nearly every leader we talk with wishes they had a better way to identify and break down ministry silos. Ministry silos, as a reminder, are those places within your faith community where everyone believes their methods are the correct and accepted way to do ministry. Their ways, in other words, are the best ways. Letting those silos develop and grow is dangerous for any church, and could ultimately damage you and your congregation.
Our friend Tony Morgan has written many times about how church leaders can help break down those silos, and how by working to develop unity around five core areas churches can encourage healthy relationships. Each of these five areas is essential for healthy church growth, but there’s one more that churches need to develop … a unity in systems.
Why do churches need unity in systems?
When churches start to drift towards growing ministry silos, it ultimately affects the processes and systems of the church. All ministries are going to have their tools of choice, the tools that work best for their activities — and that’s great. The trouble comes when pastors and church leaders won’t consider new processes or systems that would unify information and ultimately produce better results.
When churches and church leaders aren’t willing to unify around their processes and systems, they’ll eventually find that the issue is in one or more of these six key areas:
- Lack of clarity. You don’t know which group of data is really accurate, so you don’t know what pieces of data should be guiding your decisions.
- Lack of insight. Incomplete, disconnected data doesn’t show you what trends may be developing in your church, and you won’t know what to do about them.
- Lack of wisdom. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate giver of wisdom, and that wisdom works in tandem with our experiences and access to information. When the last piece of that puzzle is missing, we can too often go with our ‘gut’ and make less-than-optimal decisions.
- Lack of connection. When you don’t track what you know about people (their gifts, experiences, passions, and values), you can’t help them truly connect with the ministries that inspire them. Disconnected data makes is nearly impossible to truly know people.
- Lack of community. Authentic community and care can’t happen in the absence of accurate information.
- Lack of retention. All the ‘lacks’ above ultimately create an environment where you can’t retain a large percentage of the people God leads to your church.
A lack of unity will kill your ministry efforts faster than nearly anything else. But with a deliberate focus on unifying your ministry efforts and your ministry data, you’ll see those efforts make changes that will last forever.
How have you created unity around your church’s systems or processes to increase your ministry impact?