Build Systems that Work for Your Church

 Pastor Kent Reeder is at the Exponential Conference this week - April 27-30 - and will be regularly posting notes and thoughts based on the sessions and speakers in the conference. Please note that while many of the speakers at the conference are not confessional Lutherans and will, therefore, have some errant theology, the principles discussed are scriptural and godly. Pastor Kent will filter anything that isn't valuable out of these posts - you can enjoy the beneficial parts!

presented by Ryan Kwon

Why build systems?

1. Hell is bad, the gospel is good. You have to love people A LOT if you are going to invest the time and effort into building these systems. Your heart has to be breaking to motivate you to be as efficient as possible in your efforts.

2. Every system gets outdated. What got you through the first year won't get you through the next, and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The people, the city, the congregation, and you will change on a regular basis. Your systems have to change with them. 

Remember, the question we ask about how to be effective in our congregations will stay the same until Christ returns, but the answers will change.

3. Every church grows. The question is whether your church is growing toward health or toward disfunction. Think systems first, let them create your church, and become proactive in your growth. If your church is driving your systems to change, you will be a reactive church. If your systems are driving your church to change, you will be a proactive church. 

Truths about Systems

1. Systems are the engine behind mission and vision. 

2. Systems make vision into reality. 

3. Visions inspire, but systems modify behavior. (Neither is stronger than the other.)

4. It's a system problem, not a people problem. Stop blaming your people. Start blaming and fixing your systems. 

If you think to yourself, "I don't have a system in place for this." You're wrong. You do - it is just terrible. 

The Building Blocks of a System

1. Expectations - Have a clear goal for this system. You must build a clear expectation for this system.

2. Rewards - What is rewarded will be repeated. You must build a reward in for the good things. 

3. Consequences - If the vision doesn't happen, you must have consequences. 

4. Communication - How and how often you will communicate within this system.

5. Behavior - This is where the rubber meets the road. This is what a system creates and affects. 

People need regular reinforcement in systems. (Fortunately for Illumine, we can reinforce the systems at the beginning of each trimester because we have this pre-existing system.)

Principles that Shape Various Systems

1. Staff Systems: Spin fewer but larger plates. Anticipate change-ups and adjustments as a result of leaders growing and fitting new spaces. Get the right people at the right places. 

2. Sunday Systems: Know your guest experience. Systems should be flock focused, not sheep focused. (Think about people, not just a person.) 

3. Discipleship Systems: Know what a disciple is. Know how they are formed. Know how to identify/measure them. 

- Pastor Kent Reeder