Churches have come to realize the importance of incorporating quality concepts and tools into their management model.
Many churches and nonprofit organizations are now focusing on efficiency and effectiveness in the way their mission is achieved.
While some might argue that quality concepts are too carnal for the church, I would argue that the church should lead with quality – after all they are representing Christianity.
Quality is defined by the American Society for Quality as “The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; and a product or service free of deficiencies”.
Phil Baker, states that “excellence is not about impressing other people, it is about doing it right because it is the right thing to do. It is not seen as clearly in the big things as it is in the little things. It’s about learning from our mistakes and implementing improvements based on what we learn.”
Quality is about how things are done and focuses on data driven decision making, learning from mistakes and a commitment to continuous improvement.
6 Characteristics of Quality
1. Customer Focus
Church customers are their key stakeholders – their members, volunteers, visitors and the community they serve.
Churches should take the time to learn about their customer groups and develop systems and programs to support those customer needs. This can be done by soliciting feedback with a church survey and developing plans to address customer requirements. For example, if your church has a lot of young families, it is important to create programs to support children and youth.
Leadership is about influencing others. For a ministry, it is rallying people around a shared mission. Developing leaders to help further the cause is a continual process which includes transferring those leadership skills and reproducing leaders.
3. Resource Management
God blesses churches with valuable resources – people, time and money. Being good stewards and managing those resources efficiently is one of the biggest responsibilities of church leaders. This involves constantly looking for ways to do things cheaper, quicker and more effectively.
4. Training and Development
Employees and volunteers are the engine of the church making it important to nurture and develop that core group to help them advance in their roles. This includes training and focused role development for increased responsibility.
5. Process Improvement
Donald Berwick, MD has a great quote, “every systems is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it gets.” What this means is, improvement does not happen without intentionally looking at internal processes and finding ways to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.
6. Data Management
Decisions should be birthed out of a commitment to using all available data. Budget decisions should be based on projected revenue; church programs should be based on demographic information about members or community; volunteer training should be based on data gathered from volunteer feedback, church service programming should be based on member demographic data, etc. Data driven decisions are how successful organizations achieve objectives – for the church that means mission accomplished!
The church is responsible for representing Christianity in a way that demonstrates excellence and efficiency. Church quality assurance is one way of doing that.
How does your church maintain a quality culture?