Some church leaders resist systems because systems can feel “unspiritual” or “corporate.” I have heard the critique for years. Yet church leaders who are critical of systems enjoy their systematic theology textbooks while blood flows through circulatory system and the sun is held in perfect distance from the earth in the solar system. In other words, God often works through systems. He is not held or limited by any system but He is not anti-system. He has often moved in a very intentional and systematic way, as we see in the wise and orderly creation account. And the clear instructions for the tabernacle and temple.
There is some debate among leadership theorists about what comes first, culture or systems. Some say that systems create culture. Others say that culture drives the systems that will be designed and implemented. Whichever comes first, systems and culture are deeply connected. At minimum, systems reveal culture in that they reveal what is really important to a group of people. Here are four systems church leaders should care are effective in their churches.
A System for Hospitality
Because we believe that we are to “accept one another as Christ has accepted us,” how a church treats guests is a theological issue. If welcoming guests and expressing hospitality is important to church then the church will have a system in place. Hospitality is not really important to a church if there is not a plan to welcome and express care to the new people the Lord brings. While every church insists they are friendly, if hospitality is really a value in a church culture then a system will be supporting the value.
A System to Follow-up on New Believers
Hospitals don’t just wing it each time a child is born there. It is too important of a time, and the child needs nurture. When a child is born in a hospital there is a plan to ensure the child is cared for. And when people are born-again in our churches, there must be a plan for how those new believers are going to receive care.
A System to Help People Get Into a Group
God uses community to sustain and sanctify His people. If helping people enjoy community is important to a church then the church will have a plan and system to move people from merely attending to being attached with others in community.
A System for Leadership Development
Without a plan for developing leaders, leadership development will be accidental at best. And it certainly will not happen at scale. If a church believes that God’s people are to be equipped to serve others and that every single believer is gifted to serve then the church’s leaders will desire a system to develop and deploy leaders. What is a system or a construct for leadership development? The term “leadership pipeline” as been popularized in organizations to indicate an intentionality for training leaders at all levels and matching the training to the future roles of team members. A leadership pipeline is simply a tool, a system, to help leaders think about how people will be developed. It is a system that helps ensure leadership development is a priority.
Ministry Grid is an incredible example of a tool, a system that helps churches develop leaders. It is built on a leadership pipeline framework, so Ministry Grid much more than just content. Ministry leaders are able to assign learning and track people in their care so they can have more effective development conversations. If you are lacking in an effective system for leadership development, I encourage you to check out Ministry Grid.