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 yourÂ 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 naturalÂ strengths often enough. We were spending significant time in areas that aren’t ourÂ 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, notÂ actuallyÂ 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 isÂ builtÂ 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 everÂ experiencedÂ this?
I see some really big churches with huge ministry staffs where there is an elementary department with programÂ 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 ofÂ 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!
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Kenny – I think you are definitely hitting the nail on the head here! Our ministry is growing at a rapid pace, and as I think about the future staff members I want to add to our team, it is easy to fall into the departmental model because that is all most churches know. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Very interesting discussion! I’m looking forward to the next installment. I love the emphasis on leadership based on strengths in order to keep everyone connected. Thank you!
This stuff sounds good, huh? I’m totally stoked about the direction we’re headed in. A little nervous, but totally excited. Can’t wait to do it… could be the start of something totally new.
Our staff has been intentional about blurring the lines as a team similar to the direction that Gateway is going and that Kenny mentions here. While we have traditional titles, each of our roles are specifically geared toward our individual strengths. We celebrate our successes as a team. Additionally, we are able to strategically plan programs and events, as we are all assigned to functions that suit us best.
Looking forward to the rest of the posts and to the outcome for your team!
We fall into the departmental model, but my second hire was an admin person, not an early childhood person. THEN we hired an early childhood person & hope to add elementary eventually. The admin person handles all of the ongoing tasks, nametags, etc. to free up our early childhood person to build relationships.