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09 – How to Design Church as a Rocking Organization


Ministry workers need to know which decisions they are free to make and which will be made for them. When there is a lack of clarity about this, people act on their own assumptions. Result: mistrust, confusion, and conflict.


This is my fourth 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?)

In this post we focus on governance.

Question of the day

How are decisions made?

This question drives the governance aspect of the church.

Governance includes any kind of supervision or oversight. It involves accountability for ministry performance and financial integrity. Church staff can be part of this. It might also consist of a Board, Elders, Deacons, committees, or other leadership team(s).

3 ways to improve the decision-making process

1. Create a visual model
Start with a simple organization chart to show a hierarchy of relationships. Your org chart should clarify who supervises whom.

As a side note – in the past, org charts were king when it came to understanding an organization. Today they are viewed more as a minor piece of the whole. Org charts can provide a visual model for how things work but they cannot capture the essence of ministry.

2. Reduce bottlenecks
When all decisions are made at the top, leaders get stuck in a quagmire of details. You know this is happening when…
• response times are too slow
• leaders slip into micromanaging their team
• your best workers are frustrated over the difficulty of getting answers.

3. Empower your people
Decision-making power rests ultimately with the top-tier of leadership but can be delegated downward to speed up the process. Top-level leaders should create guidelines, policies, and parameters that allow staff and ministry workers to make the decisions directly related to their responsibilities.

Bottom line

Good organizational governance means better decision-making.

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