Structured for Success

Posted on May 29, 2015

Is your church structured for success? Sadly, many churches aren’t. They go with the flow in order to maintain the status quo. But God never called us to the status quo. He called us to lead out in the world and to win people for Christ! And winning people for Christ isn’t about maintaining; it’s about advancing and growing!

So how do you structure your church for growth, for success? In my book, The Creative Leader, I took a long look at what it takes to succeed in ministry. While we haven’t done it perfectly at Fellowship Church, for 25 years we’ve passionately pursued what God has called us to do, and I believe we have focused our efforts on growth rather than maintenance.

People repeatedly ask us how Fellowship Church is set up. I answer, “We are set up for success.” Success in any organization can only be achieved when leaders are allowed to lead. The key word is freedom: being able to shift quickly when necessary. Set your church up for success, set it up for vision, and set it up for leadership. That’s why Fellowship Church is a staff-led church. Too many churches are set up for failure because they have not put leadership decisions in the hands of the staff who are gifted and trained to lead in ministry.

What if your dentist could not make a decision unless ten of his patients voted on everything he did? Your dentist would leave his practice because that’s a formula for frustration; it’s ridiculous. The only way a dentist can do his job is if he has the control to carry out his responsibilities in meeting your dental care needs.

Pastors are often given all of the responsibility without any of the control. In these cases, deacon boards want control without responsibility. The elders want control without responsibility. They want to control, but they want your rear on the line if something messes up. If you are staff leader in the church, you are right to want both control and responsibility.

Leaders lead. So how can you do that? What does it take to set up your ministry and your church for success? Here are a few key points to remember…

  • Set Up Your Bylaws So You Can Lead – For a great understanding of what bylaws are and how they can either help or hurt your ministry, check out this C3 Global webinar! If you’re looking to set yours up (or restructure them), we have a great kit for you at Creative Pastors (use the discount code: FCBLKT for 25% off!)
  • Hire for the Heart, Not the HeadWhen I talk about heart, I’m referring to what I call the TLC principle. Hire people who are Teachable, Loyal, and Committed!
  • Avoid Cruise-Control PeopleThink of it this way: you would always rather have to rein people in than push them forward!
  • Develop a Clone-Free EnvironmentSurround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak. As a leader, you need to be strategic about filling up your staff with all kinds of people in order to reach all kinds of people, not those who are just like you.
  • Keep Your Staff LeanAvoid the temptation to just fill holes without due diligence. Every time you’re considering whether to hire a new staff member, ask yourself if a lay person could function in that role.

Remember, leaders take people where they need to go, not just where they want to go! And THAT will lead to the growth and success God has in store!

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