Challenges and Solutions to Make Your Church More Effective Today – Part 2
It is not uncommon in churches for relationships to have great centrality. As Christians we value fellowship, we want to build community and we believe in the importance of trying to act as a family. This can give real strength to our communities, but it can also mean that relationships become an end in themselves, and can become more important than seeing the organisation achieve its stated objectives and mission. Being part of a great community becomes more important than doing.
Similarly, although accountability is a clear biblical concept, Christians can believe that a different deal applies in this regard than in the secular world. As a senior pastor once said ‘we understand the concept of accountability, it’s the execution we’re not good at!’. Christians can feel that their environment should be an environment of grace, and by its very nature it should be less judgmental, more forgiving and more patient than the secular world. They can also believe, that because they may have traded financial reward for service in the church, that they have also traded pay for working in a non-judgemental environment. In addition Christian leaders are often not good at confronting difficult issues and poor behaviour. They are too nice, believing that they have to look to their own shortcomings before addressing those of others.
Tip – Build healthy, rather than nice relationships, and enforce accountability
By healthy relationships I mean that you should value your people enough to be able to have an adult-to-adult relationship with them. In Christian terms we should be able to ‘speak the truth in love’ to one another. We sometimes treat people a little like children. We don’t confront them with the truth about poor behaviour and performance for fear of upsetting them. I think this is actually disrespectful of a person, we should treat them as we would want to be treated, i.e. issues are honestly outlined and any problems discussed and potential solutions agreed and acted on. To have this kind of conversation we have to value a person enough to be prepared to give tough feedback in the right way. This is our challenge, valuing people enough to be honest with them.
In terms of accountability make sure this is part of your culture and you include performance management and measurement in your organisation. By measurement I mean the ability to measure efforts and outcomes against a plan and set of objectives. Ensure you do this both at an individual and team level, and that leaders model this behaviour by holding themselves accountable.
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Go deeper with Martin’s book, ‘Beyond Nice’
Like to go deeper on this topic and how to apply the advice offered, see Chapters 2, 5, 17, and 18 in ‘Beyond Nice – Creating Excellent Working Relationships in Churches and Other Christian Organisations’. Available on Amazon and Lulu
Go Deeper with WCA Resources
Defining Moments – Building a Great Church through Fanatic Discipline
Defining Moments – Casting a Vision That Sticks
Defining Moments – Conflict: Having the Tough Conversations
Defining Moments – Defining Categories and Strategies for Managing People
Defining Moments – Effective Elder and Board Selection
Defining Moments – Leading Change Together
Defining Moments – Loving Leadership: Giving and Receiving Bold Love
Defining Moments – Leading With Greater Boldness
Defining Moments – Managing Change
Defining Moments – Managing With Discernment
Defining Moments – Negotiating through Conflict
Defining Moments – The Five Most Ignored Jobs of a Pastor
Defining Moments – The Language of Leadership
Defining Moments – The Practical Side of Humility
Defining Moments – Volunteerism
Conference Session – A Vision to Die For – Bill Hybels
Conference Session – Call Volunteers to Action – Sue Miller
Conference Session – Coach Volunteers to their Full Potential – Sue Miller
Conference Session – Enemies of a Growing Church – James Meeks
Conference Session – Grow the Volunteer Heart – John Ortberg
Conference Session – Silos, Politics and Turf Wars – Patrick Lencioni
Conference Session – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
For more WCA resources, please use the search facilities on our website or give us a call on 023 8071 0295 for any queries.