What’s the vision or mission statement of your church? How do you get the job done?
The WHAT is your purpose and the HOW is your process.
Every church has a mission or vision statement, but not all churches have a clearly defined process or system in place to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world – your church will grow strong if you have a driving purpose and a clear process.
Why Church Systems Are Important
Just take a quick look at creation and you’ll see how our God is a God of systems…
The solar system, the ecosystem, our skeletal and digestive systems, I could go on…
It’s all self-regulating, following a sequence of patterns and laws.
Our God orders chaos and He’s very intentional about it.
As pastors and church leaders, we have a very clear purpose: to make disciples.
So let us be intentional about it.
A great practical resource for pastors looking to organise their churches and become more effective is Church Fuel.
Church Fuel will help you lead your staff, organise your ministries, improve your financial systems, organise your volunteers and improve your worship services.
It’s full of practical resources to help you create healthy systems in your church and streamline your processes so that you can do more with less.
Defining Your Purpose
Once we know the purpose of the church, we can then put a process in place.
I believe the purpose of the local church is to make disciples:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.“
But what is a disciple?
How do you define one?
What does a disciple look like?
You need to answer these questions for yourself (See Acts 19:1-5) but for us, a disciple is someone who:
1. Loves Jesus and follows Him.
2. Loves His Word and obeys it.
3. Loves the Church and serves in it.
As I say, you may come up with your own but this is ours.
Having a clear definition of a disciple is the first step to creating an effective system to make disciples.
You know what you’re going for, you know if you’ve succeeded or not, right?
I like it because it’s simple and measurable – it’s 3 simple steps and our church and our leadership know what a disciple looks like.
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Defining The Process
Once we know what our purpose is we can create a clearly defined process that’s easily understood by anyone.
Everyone in your church should know what’s next; there needs to be a simple progression that will create movement in your ministry.
Anyone starting out in karate can see the process; it’s very detailed and measurable.
They know what their next level is, what they must do to get there and what colour belt they’re going to get.
Everyone’s main aim is to get to that coveted black belt! It should be the same in our churches – everyone should be aiming to be a disciple maker of others.
The disciple-making process is like a relay race.
Olympian athletes practice the handover more than anything else, because if one step is wrong then the whole race is lost!
It’s the same with this movement in the church. Take a look at the process above, now we know where we want to take people, we just need to create a program to take them there.
Taking our example, to develop people into disciples we need to ask:
“How will we get people unsaved to saved? What program do we have?“
But at each point we have a transition program, our system put in place to get a person from A to B.
If one link is broken then the process is not working.
I’d even go as far as to say that your main job as a pastor is to oversee this discipleship process and look at what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.
Our church system is really quite simple (the simpler the better)
1. Love Jesus & Follow Him
On our Sunday morning service, people CONNECT with God (through the worship) and with His Word (through the preaching).
2. Love the Word and Obey it
Our midweek groups give people a chance to CONNECT with the Word (Bible study) and the church when they CONNECT with others and build those vital friendships.
3. Love the Church and Serve in it
Our service groups (worship, hospitality, set up and set down, media etc) give people opportunities to serve in the church.
We know that we are discipling someone if they are attending on a Sunday morning, they’re a part of home group midweek and they’re involved in some area of service.
Is Your Church Successful? Now We Can Measure It
So say you have 100 people on a Sunday morning, 50 of them are part of a home group and 30 of them are serving the church in some way – you are discipling 50% of the people in your church.
As a pastor, you need to be looking at the handover from Sunday morning to home groups and asking how you can get more people to attend a midweek home group.
I would say you’re doing a good job at getting people serving but there’s something wrong with your transition in house groups so you know that’s where you need to focus.
When you have a purpose with the right processes in place to make that happen – you are on the fast track to making disciples.
You don’t have to question your effectiveness – you’ll know how successful you are and what you need to change.
You must align your ministries, staff and volunteers around this same simple process.
Fight For Simplicity!
A final note on creating your church’s systems:
If I only remember one thing from Thom Rainer’s Simple Church book, it’s that you have to fight for simplicity!
That is, if your church is doing anything that does not contribute to the accomplishment of the purpose – you need to cut it off.
Just because it’s good to do doesn’t mean you need to do it. if it’s not in your system of making disciples it’s just complicating your life and you don’t need it.
Narrow your focus – you have to do less if you want to grow more.
The more you focus your church’s activities around this purpose and process the greater your relevance, the better your connection, the higher your quality and the stronger the impact you’re going to make.
Focus is the commitment to abandon everything outside of your disciple-making purpose and process.
To have simple systems you must implement a system that is clear and moves people so you have movement in your ministry.
You must insist that all ministries align with the process and fight for simplicity!
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Tell Us What You Think
What’s your definition of a disciple?
Can you see how creating a clear yet powerful system will enable you to build your church into a stronger disciple-making machine?
What are you busy doing now that is not helping you achieve your purpose?
What systems do you have in place to get people from A to B? Are they working or do they need to be looked at again?
Let us know in the comments! 👇