Are You Organized for Manage or Development?


A single of the pastors on our employees was overheard saying to an additional staffer, “One of the issues that tends to make Meck so diverse is that it is not organized for handle, but organized for development.”

He gets it.

It is a uncomplicated, but profound, notion.

When you are organized for handle, then your choice producing, systems, processes… they’re all about controlling issues. The target is to make certain all the things is accomplished a particular way, or that all the things accomplished is permitted. It is additional about the preservation of the status quo than it is the challenge of it.

When you are organized for development, you are structured for speedy choice producing, fluid pondering, the absence of sacred cows, the capacity to assume outdoors of the box. You are continually asking: “How can we do this improved? What would be even additional productive?”

And leaders are totally free to adhere to the conclusions.

I can’t commence to inform you how frustrating it is to lead a seminar or conference, lay out some uncomplicated choice or action that would radically enhance a church’s well being or effectiveness, and have it be met by a chorus of leaders saying, “We can not do that.” And nine instances out of 10, it is not since they do not have the cash, the volunteers, the facility, or even the desire—it’s since they do not have the freedom

They are not organized for development, but for handle.

And if they attempted to get the permission necessary by what ever authority is in location, they would be shut down since that “authority” is not educated, sensitized or inclined to make such choices. If something, they are vested in the status quo. So the ones finest in a position to make choices are not permitted to the ones least certified are. Or choice producing is so radically democratized and shared, requiring so a great deal time to act, that you drop the window of time to act!

I know there are a wide quantity of approaches to church government, from “elder rule” to a additional congregationally primarily based method. However most types of church government have 3 functions that dominate their structure: committees, policies and majority rule. 

None of these terms are identified in the Bible, and all 3 can kill you.

For instance, committees retain the persons who are undertaking the ministry from producing the choices about the ministry. Authority and duty develop into separate from one particular an additional. An productive structure, on the other hand, lets the people who are the most intimately involved in a distinct ministry and the finest certified make the day-in, day-out choices with regards to that ministry. 

The trouble with policies is what Philip Howard calls the death of frequent sense. A policy tends to make choices and directs process independent of the predicament. In a lot of techniques, this is regarded as to be the strength of a policy. The dilemma is that it removes judgment from the procedure.

For instance, a handful of years ago the federal government purchased hammers utilizing a specification manual that was 33 pages lengthy. Why not just trust persons to go out and acquire hammers? And if they can not be trusted to do that, then get diverse persons in the position!

A further trouble with policies is that they can develop into an finish unto themselves. Rather than the policies serving the organization, the organization starts to serve the policies. Fairly quickly how issues are accomplished becomes far additional vital than what is accomplished. 

Here’s a excellent query for your church structure that I think was initially recommended to my pondering in some thing I study by (or heard from) George Barna: “Suppose your church had an chance to implement a ministry that had a higher prospective for good influence, but necessary to get began straight away. Could your church spring into action inside hours or, at the most, a handful of days?”

Some of the most strategic choices we’ve ever created had to be created inside days, if not hours. And we have been structured to be in a position to do it.

Now, about majority rule. Majority rule is rooted in American democracy and, as a outcome, has normally been incorporated unthinkingly into the church. The initially misgiving about majority rule is noted by Yale University Professor Marshall Edelson, who writes how an excess of consensus, or an more than-enthusiasm for democratic principles, can render an organization impotent in terms of in fact undertaking something. 

The second misgiving about majority rule (and one particular far additional critical) is the Bible teaches that the church is a household. 

In most household structures, the immature (kids) outnumber, or at least equal, the mature (parents). In my household, there have been two parents and 4 kids. If we had voted on all the things, we would have had ice cream for dinner each and every evening, no bedtimes and lived at Disney Globe.

The church is a household and, as a result, ought to be understood to have differing levels of spiritual maturity present in the lives of its members. If each and every choice is created by the majority rather of the most spiritually mature, then there is a really sturdy possibility that the majority could mislead the church.   

This is precisely what occurred with the Israelites. Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land in order to report back to the persons regardless of whether it was all the things God promised. All 12 agreed that the land was flowing with milk and honey, but the majority mentioned that the land could not be taken. Only two, Caleb and Joshua, have been convinced that God wanted them to possess the land. 

The persons went with the majority, and it kept them out of the Promised Land.

Here’s the important to very good structure: let leaders lead. I’m not speaking about setting any one up to be autocratic or dictatorial, and there ought to definitely be suitable accountability. But do not let that develop into a euphemism for handle. A very good structure releases the leadership present described in Romans 12 as totally as one particular would permit any other present to be created manifest.

Yes, there will be some who may well really feel a loss of “control.”

But the church as a complete may well commence to really feel a sense of development.

James Emery White


Philip Howard, The Death of Prevalent Sense.

Allan Cox with Julie Liesse, Redefining Corporate Soul.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Neighborhood Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, exactly where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian Globe, is offered on Amazon. To love a totally free subscription to the Church &amp Culture weblog, check out, exactly where you can view previous blogs in our archive and study the newest church and culture news from about the planet. Follow Dr. White on Twitter and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.


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