As your church grows you may notice that “the way you’ve always done things” isn’t working any more. How can you observe, greet, and follow up with visitors every week when there are more people than you can touch base with on a Sunday morning? Is there a way the streamline prayer requests and personal conversations in efficient but still deeply compassionate and Spirit-led ways?
The basic structure for responding to these evolving challenges rests in developing effective church systems.
Begin with the Goal in Mind
Setting up arbitrary systems at church can feel tiresome or purposeless to the people maintaining them. Identify a clear need or problem for your church and work backwards from here. Ask yourself, “What is the objective that we want to accomplish? What’s the hole that need to be plugged?” Create steps and strategies that all directly relate to accomplishing your expressed purpose. Don’t get sidetracked.
Inspect What You Expect
Once you have your system in place, with the appropriate documents and procedures, it’s a great way to involve church members as volunteers. Begin with your team leader by thinking of them as champions of the cause. Next, prepare the information to be able to put in someone’s hands. While creating the information, do your best to use language that an outsider would understand. And be sure it is not too text heavy, but highlights the main ideas in engaging ways. However, don’t set something in place and assume that it’s going to hum along nicely because your directions were clear. Follow up regularly. I recommend a once per month phone or text check-in with systems volunteers, and a quarterly face-to-face meeting to discuss progress, challenges and potential improvements.
Technology is your Friend
Wonder how other churches are developing systems for children’s check-in, event and volunteer sign up, or communications? Google it! There’s so much free and quality information available on the internet, not everything needs to be an original idea from your church to be meaningfully implemented in your context. Or call a church that you think might be doing this well and ask what their system is. Once you have a “jumping off point,” then customize what you have found to meet your specified goal or objective.
Remember that your systems should be clearly developed for your specific needs, monitored and cared for by church leaders, and informed by the wisdom available to you from other churches. Systems can empower your church leaders and members to meet needs within your community in meaningful ways that support growth and healthy community.
Jonathan Sigmon is the executive pastor at Calvary Assembly in Rochester, NY. He enjoys playing basketball and cheering loudly at football games. He also loves spending time doing anything with his wife and son, and is excited to have a baby girl due in April.