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07 – How to Design Church as a Rocking Organization


You don’t need a ton of ministries to be an effective church. However, the ministries you offer should target the most important needs of your community and be managed with excellence.


This post is about the organizational framework of your church. Framework is the organizational component that defines:
• Functions (what ministries do we offer?)
• Roles and responsibilities (who does what?)
• Governance (how are decisions made?)

Let’s start with functions. Here’s the question that helps you clarify your organizational functions.

Question of the day

What ministries do we offer?

There is no shortage of ministries you could offer.

I can tell you from personal experience that you won’t be in church leadership for long until you get buried under all the ministry ideas people can pile onto you.

The way you sort through what you could do to decide what you should do is filter ministry opportunities through your organizational core (mission, vision, values, and strategy).

Organizational functions

Decisions about which ministries you choose to offer are not the central issue here.

What is central to this question is how you define your ministry areas.

Organizational functions are about groupings of people and differentiation of activities.

Organizational functions are determined by 1) the best way to meet the needs of your people and 2) the best way to manage things.

1) The best way to meet the needs of your people

It could be groupings by age (such as children’s or youth ministry). Or, the best divisions may be according to interest groups (such as men’s, women’s, or single’s ministries).

The key is to create some kind of division of activities that:
• allows groups a degree of autonomy within the larger church context
• meets specified needs
• are consistent with the overall purposes of the church.

2) The best way to manage things

Try to keep ministry functions as simple, intuitive, and natural as possible.

Going back to our metaphor of a building, avoid creating spaces that:
• are a mismatch with your purpose.
• are disproportionate with your current size.
• strain your ability to maintain them.

Managing organizational functions is directly related to roles and responsibilities, which we will address is the next post.

Bottom line

Ministries are organizational functions, distinct but part of the whole church.

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