Quality management is not a new concept to many industries. As far back as the 13th century, there were established models for managing and improving product quality.
A discipline that started in manufacturing migrated to service industries such as hospitality, hotels, and healthcare.
As these industries have embraced quality concepts, consumers have developed higher expectations for positive, error-free service experiences.
Whether it’s a product free from defects or services that are customer-friendly and offer ease of use, we’re constantly raising the bar.
Because of this phenomenon, there’s an increased pressure on nonprofit and church organizations to embrace quality management concepts.
The church has been slow to make these types of changes because of a resistance to corporate business practices spilling over into the church.
However, this quality movement is now a part of the service sector, making it even more important for churches to incorporate quality concepts, methods, and processes into managing church operations.
Church quality is about managing ministry resources, which are its people, time, and money. To understand this better, you need to ask a few questions:
8 Questions Church Leadership Should Ask
1. Are we managing our people (employees and volunteers) with the best systems and processes available?
Employees and volunteers show up to work to do a good job. Invest the time in evaluating those internal processes and systems that impact this important group of church partners.
For instance, explore new technologies that can improve communication or workflows.
2. Do we make sure we spend our time solely on those things that help further our mission?
Distraction affects all of us, and the church can fall victim to competing priorities. Use your strategic plan as your guide and stay focused on those things that support the church mission.
3. How do we manage the money God provides through someone’s donation?
Members donate to the church because they have a passion for the ministry.
Spend the time to create a church budget that deliberating allocates those sacrificial tithes to programs, ministries, and facilities that will further the church mission.
4. Are we deliberate with our spending or haphazard with financial resources?
Use your budget to guide and resist the temptation to spend valuable financial resources on anything not associated with spending guidelines.
5. Do we create an inviting environment through the aesthetic look of our facilities?
Church members and visitors enjoy worship services that are in an atmosphere that is clean and orderly.
Walk through your facilities as a visitor would and look for those nicks on the walls, stains in the carpet, or fingerprints on glass doors.
Create a process to keep your church campus looking great!
6. Do we communicate intentionally, and with focus?
Effective communication helps to keep everyone on the same page.
Create a communication strategy and determine to operate with the model of more is better!
7. Do our members, volunteers, and employees understand what we’re trying to accomplish?
Churches create Mission, Vision, and Values statements to clarify what it hopes to achieve.
Use this statement to communicate why we exist (mission), what we hope to achieve (vision) and the principles by which we operate (values) with members, volunteers, and employees.
The goal should be that, if asked, anyone in your membership could explain the church mission.
8. But more importantly, do they understand why we do what we do?
Employees and volunteers are exposed to many things behind the scenes. Often there are processes in place that may not make sense to someone on the outside.
Take the time to explain why things are done a certain way or why specific policies are in place.
These are all things you should continuously think about.
Fire Prevention vs. Fire Fighting
Question: Is your organization better at putting fires out or better at fire prevention?
Good quality processes can prevent those recurring fires that we all have to deal with – sometimes daily.
For example, if you get recurring complaints, take the opportunity to put a plan in place to eliminate the source of the complaint instead of getting really good at appeasing the complainers.
This is the difference between fire prevention and fighting fires. Fire prevention focuses on greatly reducing or eliminating the possibility of a fire starting!
For instance, the church welcomes everyone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should put a known predator in the children’s ministry.
If the volunteer department diligently does background checks on all new volunteers, the information could make the organization aware of personal issues that could potentially affect a volunteer’s role and possibly safeguard members and children from a potential predator.
Performing due diligence on the front end of the screening process can help eliminate issues on the back end. That’s fire prevention!
Quality Is How We Do Things
Quality is woven into everything we do, and it really is the how we do things. It’s how we:
- Lead and develop people.
- Manage limited resources.
- Emphasize training employees and valuable volunteers.
- Systematically improve what we do by constantly looking at our systems and processes to ensure they’re as efficient and effective as possible.
- Identify and solve the problems we deal with every day.
- Know that we’re doing what we want to do and whether or not we’re successful at it
- Measure success.
Gather, study, and make decisions based on our data and asking ourselves, is every business decision we make data-driven? If not, we may be making some poor decisions.
Church quality is not only the right thing to do. It is about using high standards and practices to manage church operations!
And who more than the church should be managing with excellence!
If you’d like to learn more about church quality, check out our book Church Quality: Why Excellence in the Local Church is Essential for Growth.
Make 2020 the year you earn a certificate in Church Administration. You can learn more here!