You are on page 1of 3

Key Processes for Church Health Part 8 - Processes Thinking

by Allen Ratta Thoughts Precede Results Thoughts precede action. That is why, when it comes to change, it is often far more effective to focus on our thoughts than our actions. Proverbs 23.7 puts it this way, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (NASB) One of the great challenges we face in our ministry at ConnectionPower, as we interact with pastors regarding our ministry solutions, is to help them migrate from function thinking to process thinking. Inadequate Thinking Most church leaders think of their church in terms of a department-based org chart. This is true whether or not they have ever taken the effort to formalize one. Remember, we are talking about a way of thinking. An org chart provides a good managerial view of the church. Most would consider that a good definitive picture of the church and how it functions. However, an org chart is entirely blind when it comes to ministry processes. This is the inherent problem with all church management software. The thinking and approach are fundamentally flawed. These products help manage function but are not designed to effectively drive ministry processes. It is interesting to note that a number of church management software companies are now mimicking our process language without any real understanding of what that means. Process Thinking However, when one steps back and takes a gander at a process view of the church it looks entirely different. There are no departments on a process map. A good process map will show purposes and how they are tied to over-arching processes like “Congregant Acquisition” and “Congregant Maturation.” It will also show a series of sub-processes that drive the over-arching processes as illustrated below.

Church Process Map (Partial) Over-Arching Process Sub-Processes Purposes < Congregant Acquisition > Outreach Evangelism Connection Worship & Fellowship Integration Fellowship, Discipleship & Ministry

Key Question While there are a lot of vested leaders watching the health of their departments, who is watching the health of your critical ministry processes?

© 2005 Allen Ratta, All Rights Reserved

Page 1 of 3

Some churches are much more intentional and strategic about the process and have discovered the tangible benefits from being process-driven. All Rights Reserved Page 2 of 3 . I would highly recommend that every pastor or church leader. quality messages. has proven to produce dismal results. Summary In part 7 we positioned process thinking and function or departmental thinking in opposite camps. they are processes that can be improved. This is a common malady. The research shows that 80% of the people who leave a church do so within the first year. There are many tools today that can help the local church to become effective at outreach. However. There are a number of changes in thought and action that are required of the church. given the paradigm shift required for a church to begin providing world-class customer service to outsiders.” As previously noted. this pastor’s story is a good illustration of just how easy it is to get the proverbial “cart before the horse. “I have got to do something! I am expecting over a hundred visitors this weekend. The process of Integration if left to itself. Let me hasten to add that worldclass competency in Connection cannot be attained through just purchasing our process-driven software alone. The Process of Outreach I received a call recently from a pastor that was rather desperate to learn how to connect people to his church. His urgency was driven by the pronouncement. First. Connection and Integration are all processes that a church can get “get their teeth into.” He knew how to effectively get them in the door. Connection is not an easy process to excel at. Sub-Processes The sub-processes of Congregant Acquisition are where the action is. we have arguably developed the broadest-based understanding of how to excel at the processes of Connection and Integration. Outreach. who has not done so. Churches systems that not only keep them informed of who is progressing along the pathways of integration but systems that force action on the part of the church. We stated. This is part of what we mean when we use the term process-driven.Analysis A brief analysis of the above chart is in order. the © 2005 Allen Ratta. The assessment is also intended to serve as a crash mini-course in the process of Connection. “The departmentalization of the church has often proven to be the bane of healthy ministry processes. The Process of Connection In 20 years of work with thousands of congregations using our systems. It will rate you in five key areas of connection and give you an overall cumulative score. it is hoped that the process will automatically function at a superior level in response to certain behaviors. The Process of Integration Every pastor knows that there is a large gap between someone who has started attending regularly and a person who is thoroughly integrated into the life and ministries of the church.” He went on to explain that he had just sent out a very expensive four-color mailer with a huge circulation and that such mailings had previously produced those kinds of visitor volumes. quality worship and a reasonable effort towards congregational friendliness. He just did not understand how to effectively connect them once they were inside. take our free online (130 question) Connection Assessment.” While ministry departments have unquestioned organizational value. mastered and measured. i. We have also learned that it cannot be done without process-designed web-based tools.e. In churches that exercise an informal ad hoc approach. every church has a process for Congregant Acquisition.

All Rights Reserved Page 3 of 3 . Since processes and not departments are the key to fulfilling the purposes of the church we do well to understand and improve them. is departmental thinking to the exclusion of good process thinking. © 2005 Allen Ratta.culprit we are speaking of.