Preparing the Management Side of Ministry for Growth

Church renovation
If your church building and systems need some renovation, will you be prepared for it? (iStock photo)

Have you ever visited a construction site before the walls are finished and the drywall is put into place?

If so, you've probably noticed the myriad of wires and pipes woven into the hidden recesses of the building. These items provide ventilation, Internet connectivity, plumbing, security system monitoring, and much more.

We don't think about those items in the buildings we work and worship in until they aren't functioning properly. In a similar fashion, the management side of ministry isn't often noticed unless it's not working well. For example, as a congregation grows, a system that used to be effective may now be insufficient. Just think about trying to use the same A/C unit from your home in the church building—that's definitely not going to keep the place cool.

Are your current systems and processes effectively supporting your congregation and church leadership? If so, are they also scalable to support a growing congregation? If you couldn't answer "yes" to both questions, consider using the following process with your team:

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First, evaluate the following management areas:

  • Financial processes & controls
  • Volunteer management
  • HR processes, including hiring and staff development
  • Policies & procedures—Safety/security, background checks, social media usage, etc.
  • Technology—Internal network, firewalls, church-management software, accounting software and more
  • Program & Event Planning
  • Communications—Announcements, social media, mass emails

Are these areas effectively and efficiently supporting the vision of your church? If not, where do you have room for improvement?

For each area that needs a bit of renovation, work with your team to determine what needs to change and what it will take to improve. Engage your staff in this process so they take ownership over making these changes. Make sure they understand this isn't about pointing out problems; it's about setting up the whole team for success and preparing the church for growth. As they identify ways to improve, start implementing those changes incrementally. Once you have a set of changes under way in one area, re-evaluate that area to make sure it's where you need it to be, then move to the next and repeat the process.

Next, start talking with your team about what they would do to support a larger church.

  • How would the team who recruits and leads volunteers handle a 25 percent increase in church attendance? They would need more volunteers to serve a larger congregation. How will they get more people involved?
  • What financial systems or policies would you need to improve to handle more donations and expenditures?
  • Would you need to consider hiring more staff? In what roles? At what time?
  • Will your staff require more electronic storage space or more sophisticated technology tools (software, etc.)?

Play out a growth scenario (10 percent more people next month) during a staff meeting and start asking these questions to get them thinking. Then develop a high-level plan to use as you start seeing growth in your church. Decide ahead of time at what point you need to implement elements of that plan.

We all want to reach more people with the gospel and make disciples. As church administrators, your supporting role may not be very visible.

However, the work you do behind the scenes can either propel or hinder your church's growth. Your teams have a vital role to play in serving your congregation. Take the time now to improve and prepare for growth. As we are faithful with what God has entrusted to us so far, it's very possible He'll entrust us with greater responsibility. Let's be ready for the opportunities He provides.

Deborah Wipf has a heart for ministry with a head for business. As the President & Founder of Velocity Ministry Management, Deborah serves ministry leaders by helping them to achieve their God-inspired vision without burning out themselves, their staff, or volunteers. She provides a variety of ministry consulting services based on her experiences in the corporate world and as a church volunteer. Connect with Deborah at and on Twitter (@DeborahWipf).

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