Today I want to talk to you about types of organizational structure in a church. We’ll discuss some pros and cons of each one. Let’s take a look.
The first type is hierarchial, and we are all pretty familiar with a hierarchy. It came about during the industrial age and is great for scalability to a point. It has a downside where eventually it starts to create silos. You have probably been part of an organization that is pretty siloed, and that is a result of hierarchy.
Next we have a flat structure. It’s fairly simple and straightforward, but it only scales so far because pretty much everyone reports up to one person. It’s only as strong then as the leader at the top.
Another type is the synergy of stove pipes, which may sound weird, but is probably familiar to you in the modern world. This structure is indeed siloed somewhat, but there is enough shared information, resources, and decisions that everyone is still working in the same direction. This means communication, goals, and measures are the same throughout the organization. It works when it works well and people are working well with each other. There’s a shared culture. This is a good model.
Next is the amoeba. The amoeba is really messy and it’s a model that usually results from a massive growth out of a start up. Sometimes it is a start up structure that continues to morph and change all the time. It makes it difficult for someone to thrive, to know what the win is, and to know what’s next.
Next is a node or a network. These are more organized around startups or multisites. They start small, but scale out. But as it expands you start to lose some of the core DNA in the culture. It’s important to hold the DNA close, and make sure the essential things are transferred throughout the organization.
Last is the ball of yarn. Similar to the amoeba, it may have started as an amoeba or a node, and it just kind of grew. It’s difficult to unravel and no one really understands what they see in any given direction. In order to get to the bottom of things, you have to unravel it and usually you have to go through a lot of people, sometimes the entire ball of yarn.
Think about your church or organization. Which structure best represents your current situation? Will this structure continue to support your vision? Are there adjustments that need to be made? Think through these models and decide where you are and what you are going to do about it.