07 February 2008

Post #200a: Church Leadership

We recently had a lay leadership training event here at Trietsch called Super Saturday and as I reflected on the mornings events several thoughts ran thru my head like a freight train.
  • How often do we have to repeat a message before people begin to understand its importance?

  • How many times do we tell people to fill out forms and follow procedures before they actually fill out forms and follow procedures?

  • What is happening between our delivering the message and the acting on the message?

At Super Saturday last year, the Communications Team (CT) spent 35-40 minutes explaining the forms and procedures to people we elected as leaders in the congregation (chairs of committees, board members, etc.). However, throughout 2007 the CT continued to express frustration that no one filled out forms (correctly or at all), but the CT continued to produce communication pieces for them (and us as staff) anyway.

Then another question came to my mind:

  • What are we teaching / rewarding our congregation to do?

We are teaching our people that processes don't matter and that we will think for them. We are teaching our people to break the rules and rewarding them for doing so...then getting mad at them for doing the very thing we are rewarding them for!

We need to stop the madness! We have a systems issue that needs fixing.

At Catalyst in October, Andy Stanley said: "Systems create behaviors" and "The systems you inherit, adopt, or create will eventually impact what staff and volunteers do" (emphasis mine). As I was listening to that talk again this week, I was hit in the face with the fact that we have (unintentionally) taught the people of Trietsch to skip the process and proceed directly to the person on staff who can get what you need. We have rewarded them for not following the process by not holding fast to deadlines, timelines, and/or availabilities.

It's not their fault...it's ours!

We (as a staff) need to learn the processes, follow the processes, teach the processes, and stick to the processes in order for the congregation to ahere to the processes. If we don't set the example, then we can't complain when they do exactly the same thing we do.

Thoughts? Objections?


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