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Why You Need Systems To Grow A Church

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Why You Need Systems To Grow A Church

Darrin Patrick was asked by Ed Stetzer – “why do churches stay small?”.

This was his response:

“Largely because most pastors don’t know how to build systems, structures, and processes that are not contingent upon them. Most pastors can care for people, but don’t build systems of care. Most pastors can develop leaders individually, but lack the skill to implement a process of leadership development. When a pastor can’t build systems and structures that support ministry, the only people who are cared for or empowered to lead are those who are “near” the pastor or those very close to the pastor. This limits the size of the church to the size of the pastor.”

If we want to grow our churches beyond the immediate sphere of the pastors, we need to develop systems.

Read more here (sorry, this link is now unavailable).

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  1. Pingback: Am I Systematic enough? | Tim Goldsmith

  2. Tokevmur

    January 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Steve – I get really concerned with this sort of stuff. Did the apostle Paul use it? The Church in Acts grew through the preaching of the Word of God. What of prayer? What of the Holy Spirit?

  3. Steven Kryger

    January 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for your comment Tokevmur. I certainly don’t want to suggest that systems replace prayer and preaching. But, ministry is also more than prayer and preaching. Caring for people takes thought. Caring for lots of people takes more thought. All with prayer and careful consideration of what God’s word says.

    Does that make sense? Is it the word or the meaning behind the word ‘systems’ you feel uncomfortable with?

  4. Dana Cadman

    January 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    One of the Five Books That Have Most Influence My Life – “The E-Myth” by Micheal Gerber – speaks to this very issue (although he writes the book for small businesses). I agree with Steve, systems don’t replace prayer, preaching, people (fellowship), and other ministries. But systems can mean the difference between efficient and effective ministries and ministries that never achieve what God intended.

    For example, a good friend of mine started Portable Church Industries 18 years ago. The idea was to systemize how churches meeting in schools, theaters, etc., set up and tear down. His system typically reduces by half the number of volunteers needed to setup and tear-down, but also knocks a half-hour of each process. The result – much easier to recruit volunteers for these tasks and lower turnover due to reduced burnout.

    My wife (before I met her) developed a grid system for her hospitality team to ensure that newcomers were greeted, introduced to people similar to them (seniors, married with young children, etc.) and followed up with that week and the next. This is an instance where a system actually helped humanize the church, not make it a mechanical, cold institution.

    The problem I see with implementing systems is that pastors/church leaders are not trained how to develop systems, processes, and policies. I’d love to see all seminaries offer a one-semester course that provides pastors with a Business 101 overview – maybe not provide the detail how to do things like reconcile bank statements or assess building maintenance needs, but it would at least make them aware these are things they need to think about and recruit volunteers to take ownership of.

    I could go on for hours about systems. I hope this discussion continues.

  5. Steve

    September 1, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    The link to Darrin Patrick’s comments is not working. Any update as to where/if we could find them?

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