Churches have come to realize the importance of incorporating quality concepts and tools into management practices.
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 don’t apply to the church, I would argue that Christian organizations should lead with quality.
Quality is defined by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) 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”.
“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.” Phil Baker
Quality is about how things are done and focuses on data-driven decision making, learning from mistakes and a commitment to continuous improvement.
6 Examples of Church Quality
1. Customer Focus
Church customers are their key stakeholders – 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 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 church leaders have.
This involves constantly looking for ways to do things cheaper, quicker and more effectively.
4. Training and Development
Employees and volunteers are the labor engine of the church.
This core group needs to be nurtured and developed so they can 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 system 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
Churches need to collect data and use it to make informed decisions.
Data tells a story and decisions should be based on the story church data tells.
For example, budget decisions should be based on projected revenue and strategy; church program development should be based on member demographics; volunteer training should be based on data gathered from volunteer feedback, etc.
Data-driven strategy and decision making is 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?
If you would like to learn more about church quality, check out our book, Church Quality: Why Excellence in the Local Church is Essential for Growth – available on Amazon.