I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resources. This week’s resource is tickets to the 2017 ETCH Family Ministry Conference. The LifeWay Kids team helped write this post.
Silos are tall towers that contain just-harvested crops. These structures are designed to store and protect the grain inside from the elements on the outside. The contents inside one silo never mix with the contents inside another; they are intentionally divided and they stay that way.
Sadly, many churches function with ministry areas that are “siloed” from one another. Ministry silos can undermine unity, breed division, and harm healthy spiritual growth among God’s people.
While silos may form anywhere in the church, they commonly exist in kids and student ministry areas. Sadly in some churches, the kids and student ministries fight for volunteers, have no idea what the other area is teaching, and are driven by different missions. In order to tear down our silos, we need to recognize and acknowledge them. Here are three characteristics of siloed ministries.
1. Lack of Communication
Silos stifle communication among ministry leaders. A lack of regular, meaningful communication keeps knowledge walled-up within the silo. A ministry silo subverts accountability and prevents good ideas from transferring to other areas. The first blow to kicking some bricks out of your silos is to open channels of communication. This can be as simple as informal conversations over coffee to create connections and build trust, or as intentional as scheduling strategic, agenda-driven meetings with specific goals.
2. Lack of Coordination
Siloed leaders make decisions alone, so they operate in ways that may not align with other ministry leaders. This lack of coordination can create calendar clashes, competition for church resources, or in even more harmful ways, discrepancies and contradictions in doctrine and practice. Coordination requires cooperation. While specific strategies must be contextualized for specific age groups, a higher level of agreement on things like philosophy, purpose, and patterns of ministry transcends all age levels. Ministries that agree to take a coordinated approach swing a wrecking ball at the walls of their silos.
3. Lack of Collaboration
Collaborating implies co-laboring on a shared project or toward a common goal. Collaboration flourishes when communication and coordination are in place, and it is evidence that the walls that had previously separated have been crushed to dust and that leaders have come together as ministry partners. For example, the student pastor may have a key, visible role in leading a big event for kids. Or perhaps the kids ministry helps sort supplies for a student mission trip. When leaders know what’s happening in other areas, they can actively and joyfully support one another in reaching common specialized and church-wide goals.
As ministry leaders intentionally communicate, coordinate, and collaborate they can begin to foster environments where kids ministry and student ministry areas do not function as divided silos but more like two different boxcars of the same train—connected to one another and heading in the same direction.
This is one of many reasons that in 2016 LifeWay launched the ETCH Family Ministry Conference. ETCH stands for “Equipping the Church & Home.” This is a premier event designed for your entire next-generation team to attend together. From preschool ministry to high school ministry, you’ll find training that is applicable and practical. We designed ETCH to be a conference that equips you for ministry, refreshes your spirit, and encourages you to work and lead together as one team. I spoke at the inaugural event last year, and I’m honored to be a keynote speaker again at the 2017 ETCH Family Ministry Conference.
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, July 19, 2017 for your chance to win 2 tickets to LifeWay’s ETCH Family Ministry Conference, October 16-18, 2017. Winners will be notified within the next couple of days.