The Conversation All Ministry Leaders Hate to Have


Restructuring is hard—but the alternative is much harder.

I'm convinced that the last 6 months have forced most churches to make more than a decade's worth of changes. Whether it was building our online ministry platform, rethinking our ministry priorities or learning how to do congregational care when we can't sit across a table from one another, much has changed.

Now, six(ish) months in, we are at a point where it would serve us well to pause, survey our current landscape and think through what the road ahead looks like for us. While our vision and mission are likely still the same, this is a good time to ask ourselves whether our current ministry structures continue to serve us well in this season. What do I mean by ministry structures? I'm glad you asked. Our ministry structures are those things that enable us to achieve the vision that God has given our congregation. For most churches, this means your budget, facilities, programming and staffing.

Now is the time to stop and begin to ask yourself, and your team, the hard questions about your ministry structure and begin to evaluate whether your current structure is serving your vision—or forcing your vision to serve it.

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A few questions that might be helpful for you as you begin your evaluation process:

Budget: Based on what you have learned since January, does your current budget prioritize those areas of ministry that will be most important for your church's vision in the next 6, 12 and 24 months? What areas require less funding now than they did at the beginning of the year?

Facilities: How has the pandemic effected the way you currently use your building and what does that mean for the next 6, 12 and 24 months? Does your facility need to be upgraded in order to better achieve your mission?

Programming: What have you learned about the effectiveness of your current programming in this season? As you look to the future, what do you need to start, stop and continue program-wise, in order to more effectively share the gospel with the world around you?

Staffing: As you look at your current team, do you see any gaps that need to be filled? Are there teammates that need to be redeployed into more strategic areas? Are there beloved team members that are no longer effective in their current role?

These questions can be intimidating to ask, especially when it comes to cutting budgets, eliminating programs or encouraging teammates to find their next ministry position. Difficult though they may be, these are crucial conversations to have for the future of your ministry.

Now is the optimal time to have this conversation, for three reasons:

Year-end is coming: From a timing standpoint, your church is likely to be preparing your 2021 budget. These conversations will give you clarity on what that should look like.

Change is still new: The changes made over these last six(ish) months are still new. The concrete has not set and you have an opportunity to evaluate what changes are worthy of keeping and which are not.

It will happen: Restructuring is going to happen one way or another. It is in the best interest of your church to proactively choose when to have the conversation instead of waiting for it to be forced upon you.

The hardest part of these conversations is knowing where to start. If that is your struggle, the team at Chemistry Staffing has created a tool to help you navigate this process: "Chemistry Staffing's Restructuring Playbook." This playbook will walk you and your team through a series of tools I use with our churches when helping them think through what structure best serves their ministry. I hope that it will serve you well.

Matt Steen has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in the Orlando, Florida area with his wife, Theresa, and has a B.S. in youth ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an urban church planter coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity and creating healthy cultures.

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