By Todd Adkins
The reality is that likely you need to consider reallocating resources during this time. Here’s a quadrant to help you identify and categorize what resources need to be reallocated in your church. This tool can be helpful as you navigate different phases of change, and it’s also great to use during a crisis, but in addition, use annually to identify resources that could be better used by your church in a ministry. Let’s take a look.
First, you have the x-axis, which is actually why the church exists. It’s the essential ministries of the church. It’s Great Commission, Great commandment, fellowship, discipleship kind of stuff. A word of caution here is needed because we need to consider what is really essential to our church. What are the purposes of the church? A by-product of the purpose driven movement was that everyone now had a really great argument for why their ministry should exist. I could start any affinity-based ministry I wanted and then defend it staunchly as evangelism or fellowship or discipleship. So, whether you use the purpose driven model or you are a 9 Marks church or whatever you have decided is essential, think about this next thing. During this season of crisis or change, we don’t need fourteen ministries vying for resources to do one of those essential ministries of the church. Right now we need to focus on one or two that do it best during this particular season and during this change. The more resources are spread out, the greater difficulty you have in communicating to your congregation what’s important and where they should fit in and the more likely you diminish the vision of your change.
Now, this y-axis is all about the effectiveness of the ministry during this time. We’ll also pretend that we have a third sloping line here and it is really all about how strategic it aligns with the change. So, here we go.
If the ministry is not an essential ministry of the church and it’s not effective and it’s not strategic, stop doing it. No further questions are asked, none are needed. This is your opportunity to kill of a lot of ministries, a lot of sacred cows, that might be in your church. As Churchill said, “Never waste a good crisis.” And this is likely the greatest opportunity that you will ever have to prune back some of those ministries that aren’t producing real fruit. Which brings me to the next quadrant.
If the ministry is not essential, and it’s not terribly strategic, but it’s still considered effective by your church, you still must shift these resources away from it to something that is more strategic – at least during this time. And you have to be brutally honest. In almost every church, there’s something that may have started out completely in alignment with the mission of the church, but it experienced mission drift along the way. It may have been a great ministry and have 20 years of history, and it is lifted up as a trophy of your church, but think about it and shift the resources now and don’t bring them back when we continue a new normal. You must eliminate the trivial good, even though it might be considered successful. You need to make sure you aren’t doing anything to prop that up and shift those resources during a very strategic time of change.
Next, if the ministry is essential, but it’s not yet effective, then you must strategize around it and use the change to help make that happen. This is an essential ministry of the church, after all, and we must get this right. We have to realign our people, our money, our communication, and other resources around this and swarm it until we get it stabilized and we can move it over into the scale category.
This is our final quadrant: the scale it category. If it’s an essential ministry, absolutely effective, and it’s strategic, then congratulations. You are moving toward change and you need to continue to support and scale this. You don’t want to establish that you’ve been victorious and say that you’ve had success too early. You need to dedicate both time and resources to continue to elevate it in front of everyone, so that there’s clarity on what’s important and you can continue that momentum. Oftentimes, we will take our foot of the gas when we get this thing going because it seems successful. That is not the case. You want to continue to push the gas and scale that up.
Now, this assessment isn’t really a one-time thing. What works well in one season may not work well in the next, so you want to continually assess your allocation of resources and continue to align them to best meet the needs of your people as new information comes to light. We have a tool that will help you process all this and plot out these four areas within your team. This will not be easy if you don’t have a culture that is not used to healthy conflict, so you may want to do this first on your own or do it with only your highest level of leaders in your church. Once you have used the template of this realignment tool, you can then get down to the ministry level and figure out what’s best next.
By doing something like this during tough times, or doing it annually, you can make sure that your staff and congregation have clarity on where you are going, what you are doing, and where they fit in. It also means that your leaders aren’t going to go completely Book of Judges and do whatever’s right in their own minds. Now, let’s take a look at creating visible wins during change.
To help you lead change in your church or ministry, our team has created a FREE course on Leading Rapid Change: 7 Steps to Agile Leadership in your church. Click here to get started.