Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process. Alignment to the process means that all ministry departments submit and attach themselves to the same overarching process.
Alignment ensures the entire church body is moving in the same direction, and in the same manner.
When a church is fully aligned, all ministries are operating from the same ministry blueprint. The ministries not only embrace the simple process, but they are engaged in it. Each ministry department mirrors the process in that particular area.
Without alignment, the church can be a multitude of subministries. In this case each ministry has its own leaders who are only passionate about their specific ministry. They rarely identify with the entire church but are deeply committed to their own philosophy of ministry.
In a church that lacks alignment, everyone is competing for the same space, resources, volunteers, and time on the calendar.
In a church that lacks alignment, it does not feel like one body. It feels more like a building that houses a wide variety of ministries.
All churches naturally drift away from alignment.
Most of the times it is not addressed. The reasons vary. For one, it is painful to do so because committed people who have been around for a long time are passionate about their particular way of doing ministry. Sadly, they are more passionate for their area than for the church as a whole. Addressing misalignment also takes time and energy. It costs something to address it.
Unfortunately, it costs more not to address misalignment.
When misalignment on a car is not addressed, the results are damaging. Tires can blow out while driving. Damage to the wheels can occur. The same is true for a church. When misalignment is not addressed, there is damage.
Without alignment, complexity is certain.
Simple churches practice alignment. They intentionally fight the drift into misalignment. They insist that each staff member and each ministry embrace and execute their simple ministry process.
Adapted from Simple Church (B&H Publishing Group, 2006)