Is your organization (or even your home) structured to function effectively and efficiently? All organizations have some type of structure. Unfortunately, many, perhaps the majority, do not have an efficient, effective operating structure. In the church, for instance, nine out of ten healthy high performing New Testament churches have healthy efficient functioning structures. On the contrary, such an effective, efficient functioning structure is almost always missing in declining churches.

As mentioned in sentence two of the opening paragraph, most churches (and other organizations) have structure but lack an efficient functioning structure. Many of these issues are addressed in Reaching the Summit without ever mentioning the phrase organizational structure. We attempt to assist the church in realigning its structure to be a functioning biblically-based organism with an effective, efficient functioning structure.

What does all this mean and what is the difference? Let’s look at one scenario played out in many churches across North America. See if it fits your other organizations too. Most recruiting for lay (volunteer) positions in the church is done in the hallway on Sunday mornings. We corner someone in the hall and implore him/her to take a certain position for the coming fiscal year. Seldom do we offer training or even sufficient resources. We’re only looking for a yes. Once someone says yes, we run off to fill the next position.

This recruiting leads to untrained or under-trained, unmotivated and sometimes unskilled people leading the ministry positions and discipleship classes in our churches. Can you see where this is going? Untrained, unmotivated people with the lack of needed skillsets cannot lead or assist their ministry and your church to effective ministry. It is easy to draw the line of comparison between this recruiting practice and declining churches. These churches indeed have a recruiting process, a structure, but not an effective or efficient one.

There is an intimate connection between structure and healthy living. In fact, you could say this connection was first demonstrated in the Genesis account of creation. Verse 2 of Genesis chapter one says “the earth was without form, empty, and full of darkness.” God spoke form (structure) into place and life became a reality. Every part of the creation account in Genesis demonstrates the principle that structure gives life. Even humankind, until God breathed life into man, was not a functioning structure.

Many of our churches find themselves going through motions of action without form and void of true biblical functioning structure. The functionality of our church (and other organizational) structure has been tested these past few weeks, and the testing is not over yet. We are quite possibly only at the beginning of the testing of effective structure functionality.

As we look ahead to coming out of this COVID-19 cessation, it is critical that leaders look at the changes needed in your organizational structure and begin preparing for a better, effective, efficiently functioning structure for fulfilling God’s mandate through His church. “Church as usual” will drive you quickly into further decline. What will you do today to begin reversing decline and setting an effective, efficient functioning structure in your organization?

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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