ministry ideas in the church never get fulfilled. Many wonderful plans get vetoed when they
come to the official church board.
boards are structured around a 1950’s corporate style still using parliamentary
procedures to accomplish the “business” of the church. The Board members often see their
responsibility as guarding the status quo of the church, although many do not
recognize that as their motive. They
look upon any new idea with great suspect, and the first reaction is, “Prove
that this will work, that it will succeed, and that it won’t cost the church
any money.” The basic mode of operation
with a healthy characteristic of functional structures utilizes a church
structure that is more free-flowing and permission-giving. A church with healthy functional structures
will be risk-taking, willing to try new ideas and equally willing to cancel their
implementation if they are not effective.
The old paradigm of church structure called for the laity to manage the
church with an attitude that if we try a new idea and it doesn’t work, we
failed. The new paradigm approaches the
idea with an eagerness to learn, and if it fails, then we learn from our
mistakes and try again.
church organizes structures around ministry and being faithful to the church’s
mission and purpose. Many healthy
churches have established a policy of asking three questions of any new
ministry or program that someone wants to initiate.
If these conditions are met, then the
ministry moves forward, with the blessing of the church board.
it further the mission, vision, or purpose of the church?
it make new disciples or help people grow in their faith?
there or can there be a team to work in accomplishing this ministry?
effective approach to developing functional structures is for the traditional
organizational structure of boards and committees be changed to “teams.” Teams formed around ministry areas and tasks
are more adaptable and responsive to new situations. However, this change must reflect a change in
approach that focuses on ministry, not simply a change in name.
To regain a
healthy church with functional structures, all ministries, programs, and
committees must align with the church’s mission and purpose. A careful review of each area may reveal that
the church has been using resources to maintain the structure and the
traditions of the church rather than accomplishing the Great Commission and the
The faith journey is about growing in our spiritual life. We are all
spiritual beings. Natural Church
Development measures the level of passion we have in our relationship to