Today and tomorrow, I’ve decided to post excellent blog posts from my friend,Â Michael Lukaszewski. I also want to encourage you to check out his free webinar tomorrow. See details at the bottom. Here’s his blog post:
In church world, most of us rely on short term tactics to grow and bust through issues.
Giving is a little behind, so the preacher talks about money. Â Thatâ€™s a responsive tactic.
They need some more volunteers in the childrenâ€™s ministry. Â Time to pull out the Acts 6 sermon or the VBS video. Â Thatâ€™s a tactic.
Attendance is flat. Â Time to strap the worship leader into a crane overnight to see if the local news will pick up the story. Â Thatâ€™s a tactic.
We spend a lot of our time pulling the trigger on tactics, but what we really need to create is a strategy. Â We spend a lot of time doing stuff, but what we really need to create is a system.
Marketing will help you attract a big crowd on Easter Sunday. Â But good systems will help you connect some of them into the life of the church. Â Hype will get you some publicity in the local news and on the church leadership blogs, but systems will help you build an enduring organization that truly makes a difference in your community.
Short spikes in giving and attendance donâ€™t do much for organizational growth. Â The here today/gone tomorrow kind of ministry doesnâ€™t bring about lasting change. Â Those moments are addicting, but they are not sustainable. Â You donâ€™t have enough worship leaders to sit in the crane.
What you need is sustainable church growth â€“ the kind that comes from having guests stick on a weekly basis. Â Iâ€™m talking about the healthy kind of growth, not manufactured activity that comes from hype.
At the end of this post, Iâ€™m going to give you three ways to create healthy systems that lead to this kind of growth, but before that, letâ€™s talk about the problems.
The Real Reason Your Church Isnâ€™t Growing
Itâ€™s probably not because of people.Â Â Itâ€™s easy to look around and say, â€œIf I could just hire some administrative help,â€ or â€œif we just had someone who focused on the community all the timeâ€ or â€œIf all Jimmy ever did was work with teenagers,â€ then we would break this barrier. Â The problem with that superhero kind of thinking is itâ€™s just not true. Â More people thrown at your problems will not solve the issue.
Itâ€™s probably not because of space.Â Â Iâ€™ve seen so many church leaders become infatuated with building a new building, limiting their vision to bricks and 2x4s. Â Space probably isnâ€™t your issue.
Thereâ€™s a good chance you arenâ€™t experiencing sustainable growth due to the lack of systems. Â I bet thatâ€™s what I would find if I looked under the hood.
Creating healthy systems takes work and time. Â Yes, there are some things you can do to jump start the process, but if you are visionary leader, this is not going to be fun.
But if youâ€™re a visionary leader, turn some of that vision on yourself. Â You tell other people all the time they have to kept he end in mind if the want to reach their goal. Â Itâ€™s time to preach that message to yourself
How to create healthy systems
1. Â Do a real inventory.
Look around your church and talk about your strengths and weakness. Â But if you want to improve, you have to confront the brutal facts. Â You need to give people the freedom to talk about whatâ€™s not good. Â Iâ€™ve seen a lot of churches where the thing that needs to improve is the preaching, but nobody will tell that to the preacher.
There are a lot of great things happening in your church, but youâ€™ve got to be honest about whatâ€™s really hurting you.
2. Â Get outside help.
I know there is some good advice on WebMD.com but I donâ€™t recommend performing surgery on yourself. Â There are times when you need the services of a professional.
Professional help isnâ€™t a waste of money â€“ it will keep you out of the weeds. Â The person who does my taxes actually saves me money. Â The counselor you see is cheaper than a divorce lawyer. Â And the church consultant you hire will help you identify and solve the real problems.
3. Â Solve one thing at a time.
The biggest mistake I see churches make in the area of creating healthy systems is doing too much too fast. Â There are seven different systems in the church, and if they all need improvement, you canâ€™t do it all at once. Â Youâ€™ve got to prioritize.
And if you canâ€™t prioritize, just pick.
Go to work on how you follow up with guests. Â Create a service planning system. Â Or build out an annual money plan. Â But donâ€™t do all of them at one time. Â You know exactly what will happen â€“ you will execute minor improvements and nothing will really get better.
Take six months or more to work on one thing, and youâ€™ll see a big improvement. Â Only when everyone (not just the visionary leader) says itâ€™s good should you move on to the next one.
Iâ€™m hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, July 23 on this very subject.Â Â In the 55-minute webinar, Iâ€™m going to go more in dept on how to create systems and give you some ideas for installing them in your church. Â Sign up here.