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All Systems Go!


Last Friday was an amazing day. Joan and I experienced the historic launch of Orion at Cape Canaveral.

Incredible machine! Designed for deep space exploration. Proclaimed by NASA to be an engineers’ “magnum opus”.

The tension is palpable just moments before the rockets fire when the launch director polls all divisions for a go/no-go decision. It is critical that all the systems are monitored and working. What an adrenaline rush when the launch director finally says, “cleared for liftoff”!

For all its complexity, the liftoff, 4.5-hour test flight, and splashdown were flawless.

Because… NASA is good at designing and integrating systems.

Your systems can make you or break you

My friend, also named Steve, a successful businessman, is adamant about this.

Businesses with good systems in place succeed. Businesses without good systems fail. Good systems are the single most important factor in running a successful business.

Well-designed and smooth running churches also have good systems.

More than the latest fad

The word ‘systems’ is one of the current buzzwords in the church world, and for good reason. We are awakening to the necessity and power of well designed and executed systems.

Simply stated, systems are repeatable processes for accomplishing specific objectives.

An often used quote from Edward Deming, the American professor who is credited with architecting the almost miraculous economic recovery in Japan following WWII, goes something like “your systems are perfectly designed to get the results you are getting”. (Unfortunately, that’s not usually a compliment.)

Deming also said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing”. Too often that’s exactly the case in churches.

According to Tony Morgan, healthy church systems will benefit you in a number of ways including the following.

1. They empower your people to do ministry without always having to get permission.
2. They mobilize many people rather than leaning on a select handful of talented individuals.
3. They simplify the path, making it easier for people to get things done.

Bottom line

Well-designed systems are some of the greatest gifts you can give to your ministry team.

Question: What might happen if churches had better systems in place?

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