7 Systems Every Healthy Church Needs

7 Systems Every Healthy Church Needs

A system is noticed the most when it is broken or missing. When it is in place and functioning, you don’t notice it as much as you notice the positive results it produces.

This is true for physical bodies as well as church bodies.

Healthy churches are like healthy bodies. They are healthy when their key systems are in place and working properly. And when that happens, the body, as a whole, is thriving.

So whether you’re in a church plant, in a church revitalization, or if you’re in the middle of a fruitful season of growth, the following are 7 systems every healthy church needs. Create them. Pay attention to them. Optimize them. And keep them functioning properly.

1. Master Calendar

The master calendar is to be used by your staff and key leaders. This isn’t a public calendar. It has everything on it – staff holidays, staff vacation time, special events, key initiatives, ministry events, etc.

The idea with a master calendar is to have one go-to location (preferably in a digital format like Google Calendar, iCal, or something similar) that all staff and key leaders can access at any time.

You’ll need to designate someone as the “keeper of the calendar” and make sure they have all the info they need to keep the calendar updated.

If you’ve ever felt like the church you lead is too busy or disjointed in its activities, the master calendar will be able to be a living symptom display. And this is vital for the next system.

2. Yearly Planning and Evaluation

Every year, some things work well and some things flop. Some programs are failing and some are flourishing. Some need to be stopped and some need to be started.

But this is more than simply evaluating programs. This system also has in mind the way a multi-staff church conducts yearly (as well as more frequent) evaluations of staff.

This is an invaluable system that encourages personal and corporate growth, goals, and innovation.

This prioritizes the need to work on the ministry, not just in the ministry.

3. Organization Chart

Who is responsible for what and who is accountable to whom?

These are the questions an organization chart answer. No matter how laid back a church is, there is a hierarchy of influence and authority. And this is a good thing. The org chart spells it out and gives clear expectations to everyone involved.

Use one of the many online org chart creators to make yours.

But keep this in mind: the goal isn’t just to have an org chart that you can look at and admire. The goal is to drive authority down and equip leaders in every area of every ministry. The org chart will change over time. It should. As your church grows, the org chart must change because the way decisions are made must change.

4. Assimilation

  • How do you connect with first-time guests so that they become regulars?
  • How do you engage with regulars so that they become followers of Christ and members of your church?

These are all the kinds of questions that an assimilation system answers.

This has overlap with system five and I really could have combined the two. But regardless of if you break assimilation and discipleship apart or keep them connected, the point of assimilation is the same: connect people to the vision and mission of Jesus.

This includes your first impressions ministry, your connection card process, your guest follow-up process, and your membership process. Another way to think about it is the engine that encourages people to engage in your discipleship process.

Think of your assimilation system as the series of steps you want someone to take to grow in their faith and connect to the vision and mission of Jesus at your church AND how you envision encouraging them to take those steps.

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5. Discipleship

Every church needs a discipleship system. A discipleship system is the methods and environments for making disciples.

This often includes the following:

  • Sunday morning worship
  • Core membership/equipping classes
  • Serving teams
  • Small groups ministry
  • Supplemental classes

When these elements are combined into a true discipleship system, they are all interconnected and weighted.

Here’s what I mean: each of these reinforces the other. If someone is a part of a Sunday morning worship service, they should be encouraged to attend the core membership/equipping classes. When they are at those classes, they should serve as on-ramps to serving on a team, joining a small group, or jumping into a supplemental class. And this continues and continues and continues. Every environment is leveraged to encourage deeper engagement in the mission and vision of the church you lead.

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6. Generosity

Yes. A generosity system. Healthy churches have a system they employ to encourage and teach generosity.

This is done through their giving options like passing the plate, physical giving boxes, online giving, etc. Shout out to RebelGive, the new giving platform we chose at FCC by the Pro Church Tools crew.

It’s done through the offering talks that are given every week.

It’s done through the stewardship and generosity sermon series that are preached every year.

It’s done through thank you letters to first-time givers.

It’s done through having a vision that goes beyond their current budget.

Healthy churches prioritize generosity and stewardship because Jesus did so too.

7. Leadership Development

Every healthy church, to remain healthy, must continue developing leaders. If leaders cease to be built, the church will cease to be healthy.

For every level of leadership in every ministry, there should be a clear process as to how those leaders will be equipped for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4).

That is, after all, our purpose as pastors. We are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. We are not to be doing everything on our own.

A leadership development system, though, articulates how frontline servants will be onboarded and developed, how ministry leaders will be developed, and how staff and elders will be developed.

This will take time to develop, but it will be worth all the work and all the time.

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What would you add?

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.

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