Heard of my 8 Systems of a Healthy Church? You need to exercise wisdom when you are putting these in place. Otherwise, you will create unnecessary conflict with your congregation. There is no reason to cause yourself, or your church, more stress. Here are some tips on building good systems, learned from the experiences of our churches and churches from all over the world:
- Go slowly. When you make the decision to build healthy systems, your natural tendency will be to move quickly. After all, you have the vision of what the future can be. But if you move too quickly, you will encounter more resistance than necessary. Remember, not everyone can see the same future you do. Move slowly, and you will give the people who are resistant an opportunity to catch up to your vision of the way things can be.
- Keep moving! Move slowly, but don’t stop moving. You will meet some resistance. Some people won’t see the need to change. You will encounter other obstacles. The key is to keep making incremental progress every day. Have the necessary tough conversations. Move to the sound of conflict. Even slow progress is better than no progress at all. Slow, steady progress will result in you getting where God wants you to be.
Move to the sound of conflict.
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- Build teams. Just as you will have people who are resistant to change, you will have some who are early adopters of those changes. These people are the “raving fans” that you need to populate, sustain, and promote your systems. Important: You cannot keep these systems going by yourself. You need other people to carry you through. You are the architect, the visionary, the engine of change. But you need a team — made up of staff and/or volunteers — to help you keep systems going.
- Start where you will see the biggest impact. For many churches, I (Nelson) recommend starting with the Assimilation system. There is nothing quite like the shot of electricity that goes through a church when you see guests returning for a second, then a third visit. Seeing those people serve, get saved, and become part of the life of your church will excite your members too. Even small victories can energize a church and motivate your people to make further changes.
- Keep the big picture in mind. Building systems can be difficult work. But it is worth it! On the other side of the work, you will see the blessing. Keep reminding yourself of what the future holds if you just keep going. And do the same for your congregation. It is easy to lose sight of the vision, especially if you don’t see immediate results. Keep plugging away. Don’t lose hope.
On the other side of the work, you will see the blessing.
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When you build church systems, you are building for a better, lower-stress tomorrow.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 115-116 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
Your partner in ministry,