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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 May '14

Antiquated church governance systems that hurt the mission of the church

Posted by T.J. Addington in church, church leadership, governance
A fundamental concept for any governance system (how you do leadership) is that the system should serve the mission. Unfortunately there are still many churches who are living with antiquated and ineffective governance systems that actually hurt the congregations ability to do what Jesus called them to do. In these cases the mission ends up serving the governance system - the opposite of what ought to be the case.

Poor governance systems tend to be "permission withholding" structures rather than "permission granting" structures. 

In permission withholding structures:

  • Decisions must be made more than once
  • Permission and agreement must be negotiated with multiple groups
  • Timely decisions are tough
  • There is confusion of authority and responsibility
  • Church bylaws are confusing and bureaucratic
  • It is hard to make decisions and implement them
  • The mission of the church is compromised
In permission granting structures:
  • Decisions are made once
  • There is not a need to negotiate permission with multiple groups
  • There are clear lines of authority and responsibility
  • Church bylaws are brief and allow for flexibility
  • It is easy to make decisions and implement them
  • Timely decisions are easy
  • The mission of the church is easier to implement because the systems support the ability of leaders to lead.
Jesus designed the church to be the most effective, flexible and missional organization on the face of the earth. Permission withholding structures (most antiquated church governance systems) makes the church inflexible, relatively ineffective and certainly compromises its mission. If your governance systems are antiquated and no longer help fulfill your mission, be courageous enough to change them. The third section of "High Impact Church Boards" provides a roadmap for changing your governance systems.

(Posted from Oakdale, MN)