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Effective church management is the appropriate administration of church resources (people, time, and money).
There are some who are resistant to labeling church management as a business function.
However, whenever there are people and money involved, there needs to be structured business practices to ensure church resources are managed appropriately.
Churches are unique because they rely on (tax-exempt) donations from members to exist and have a responsibility to be good stewards of those resources.
The ability to manage church resources effectively is dependent on the ministry’s process of overseeing church operations.
Therefore, a church is only as effective and efficient as the systems and processes by which it operates.
9 Keys to Effective Church Management
1. Church Board Governance
Most churches organize as a 501(c)(3) organization.
This type of tax exemption comes with IRS requirements. One of those requirements is board governance.
The board is responsible for ministry oversight and the proper management of church resources.
Effective board governance lays the groundwork for efficient church management by directing and holding church leaders accountable for proper oversight of resources.
This includes oversight of ministry budget, capital expenditures, legal compliance and managing the risk of church operations.
Effective boards are diverse in membership and have representatives from business or legal backgrounds to ensure a broad perspective and proper documentation of board documents.
2. Church Strategy
Church growth is the result of a carefully considered church strategy and plan.
The process begins when a church creates a vision, mission, and values statement implemented through a focused strategic plan.
This structured planning process allows the organization to set performance targets and lays out the steps to fulfill its mission and purpose.
For instance, if your church has a passion to support the underserved in your community, a strategy and plan can help your church fulfill that passion.
3. Church Goal Setting
Implementation of church strategy is dependent on how well goals are developed, tracked, and achieved.
Goal setting can be a time-consuming process.
Write SMART goals, create a structured performance management process to help ensure focus and timely completion of church goals that support its mission.
For instance, create goal documents that identify – what (needs to be done), who (will do it), how (it will be done), and when (the goal is due). A goal document provides a visual for getting it done and holding responsible persons accountable for their job assignments.
4. Budgeting Process
Churches have limited resources so they need a structured budgeting process to identify expenditure requirements and prioritization of church spending.
A church budget takes its strategy and helps to prioritize spending to support those initiatives that support the church mission.
For instance, let’s say you have a strategic objective to develop a feeding program in your community, a church budget would allocate resources to support that outreach.
A budget provides the necessary financial resources needed for the day-to-day operations, church programs, and unexpected building or campus repairs.
Saving for the new building or land acquisition are also an important aspect of the budgeting process.
5. Managing How Work Gets Done
Strategy and goal completion is only as effective as the process that manages it.
A structured process to monitor goal completion holds people accountable and supports implementation of the strategy.
Whether it is church employees, volunteers, or a sub-committee of the board – completing goals, as written, on time is crucial to a church’s ability to achieve its mission.
For instance, let’s say your personnel committee has a goal to write job descriptions for all employees and volunteers; someone would be responsible for managing that process to ensure the assignment gets completed as requested.
6. Facilities Management
Visitors and members like to gather in a clean, maintained, and aesthetically appealing atmosphere.
Consequently, whether a church rents temporary building space or has a full-blown campus, managing the upkeep and maintenance of ministry facilities is crucial.
Buildings need to be routinely cleaned, maintained, and repaired.
For instance, create a scheduled maintenance plan to ensure the building is in good working order and provides a comfortable environment for members and guests.
7. Employee Support
Employees work for a church because they have a passion for the church and feel called to help.
Church employees often work with limited resources and depend on volunteer labor to get the job done.
Support employees by clarifying job expectations, providing the necessary resources for getting the job done, and rewarding them for their efforts.
For instance, let’s say you give an employee responsibility for maintaining the church building, make sure they have the necessary supplies and equipment to get the job done.
8. Volunteer Support
Churches rely heavily on volunteer labor. This free labor force volunteers freely because of a passion for the church.
Effective volunteer management creates a seamless process to recruit, place, train, and oversee volunteer labor.
For instance, create a volunteer orientation process that helps volunteers acclimate to their new role and trains them on behavior expectations.
Volunteers off-set labor costs. Provide a customer-friendly volunteer experience to ensure an efficient and effective volunteer program.
9. Legal and Risk Management
Churches need to manage their risks and be legally compliant with governing laws.
A ministry needs to understand its risks and be proactive in minimizing exposure.
For instance, Campus safety and volunteer screening are examples of church-related risks.
Manage these risks by understanding legal requirements and by having an awareness of campus safety measures.
Size Does Not Matter
Whether a church has a congregation of 100 or 10,000, effective church management is important to ensuring good stewardship of the resources God supplies.
Setting the direction by developing a strategy, goal development, and strong performance can go a long way in helping a church achieve all that God has called it to.
How effective is your church management?
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