Yesterday I wrote about Org Charts and ministry, specifically how most children’s ministries use a standard departmental model by default. I’m convinced that although departmental models might be natural they tend to not be very efficient.

Here’s what I found. This summer I read the book Lead the Way God Made You. It really spoke to my pain. You can read my review of the book right here. Essentially the book talks about your leadership gifting and strengths and how to make sure you’re developing your weaknesses and really leading out of your strengths. The big wake-up call for me and my team after reading this book is how most of us weren’t leading through our natural strengths often enough. We were spending significant time in areas that aren’t our strengths because we were just busy with all the details of ministry. What I started to realize is that because the departmental model is so natural, we tend to place people over the departments based on their affinity and gifts for that age group. Even though your Early Childhood director may be really great with the little ones, the most important part of their job should be leading those who serve in that area and are good with little kids, not actually teaching little kids. The same is true for Elementary. I don’t want to minimize the idea that you want people who are really good with that age level so they can lead by example and maybe even carry that ministry as a team is built up. However, your organization is going to get stuck if it is too reliant on one or two gifted people.

My other beef with the departmental model that has become very clear to me. Duplication of tasks. Currently I have an Elementary Director and and Early Childhood Director that essentially do the same thing, but in two different areas. They both love and lead volunteers. They both manage schedules. They both oversee production elements of their areas. They both assimilate volunteers into their teams. They both manage the resources, equipment and facilities f their areas. So, I’m just seeing way too much duplication, which to me seems incredibly inefficient. The bigger problem is when I have an Elementary Director who has administrative gifting and an Early Childhood Director who is very much a people person (I’m just making this up as an example… not stating truths about my staff), then both areas aren’t necessarily going to be loved, run or cared for the same. One might have really great programing and resources, but the volunteers feel a little disconnected where another area might have great volunteer connections, but lacking on the programing and resources. Are you catching my drift? Have you ever experienced this?

I see some really big churches with huge ministry staffs where there is an elementary department with program directors, volunteer directors, and pastors just for that area. Perhaps that is a departmental model that works, but what about the other 99.9945% of us that don’t have those kinds of resources? What is the model that works for the staff of 1-3? Well, that part of the discussion will have to wait until tomorrow! Stay tuned, this is exciting stuff!