Monday, December 1, 2008

Subversive Management Theories for the Church?

Just had a really interesting chat this morning. A friend of mine who is a business analyst at a large company was telling me about some of the management theories that were currently being implemented/discussed in his company. I was struck straight away by how powerful these ideas could be if we applied them to church. Let me know what you think :)

Blue Ocean Strategy.

In a nutshell: It's a big ocean, don't waste your energy competing with everyone else find a niche that is all your own.

For the church: how many towns have four or five churches singing the same songs, preaching the same messages and running the same programs. Evangelicals are the worst at this. We tend to 'fish in the same pond' when there is an ocean of need out there. Let's have some diversity. Get all the local churches together and all agree to do something different. That way we will stop using our time and resources doing exactly what the next guys down the road are doing just as well!

Communities of Interest

In a nutshell: Instead of having all the different people in all the different departments solving all the same problems on their own. People with similar skills and responsibilities network and share information, ideas and strategies. These networks can grow throughout the company and to include other stake holders.

For the church: In a town where 5 churches are all running childrens/youth/homeless/elderly minstry why dont they all team up, share resources, and work together? More than this, if your church doesn't run a particular ministry but someone in your church has a particular passion connect them to a group in another church who share that passion that they can get involved with. Shouldn't we see the other churches in our locality as 'stakeholders' in the same gospel mission as us and form a 'community of interest' around bringing God's restoration and renewal to our neighbourhoods?

No Job Titles

In a nutshell: By taking away titles you empower the whole team. When a stranger comes in to make a sales pitch they have to make it to everyone. Instead of the leader being the one responsible for seeing things through, it becomes everyone's responsibility.

For the church: Could we really do this? Have a community without job titles and management structures? Where we're not all accountable to a 'minister' but to each other? Where no one has a 'position' but can only get others to follow them by virtue of their proven character and abilities?

Now obviously these would all need some serious Biblical reflection, and we definately shouldn't be just implementing the latest management theories into the church just for the sake of it. But these secular management theories seem to offer a good critique of some of the secular management theories we already use in the church, but take for granted.


  1. I think that's a good idea Jon! Surely a community with churches that worked together would be much stronger. If new people could go to a church and know that there were links to other churches/groups with similar visions and passions, there'd be less people drifting from churches and more staying. But I do think churches need a leader... by that I don't mean someone who stands on high and dictates to others, but someone who can listen to his/her congregation and truly be a part of it, whilst still helping to lead the church forward.

    Look now you made me think and that's dangerous lol

    Faye x

  2. For more on Gary Hamel's management theories, and those of other leading management thinkers, check out - it's basically a community of interest of those interested in revolutionary management ideas.

    As Paul states in Romans 12, there are many different gifts and all are needed in the body of Christ. I don't think that people have to be identified as a such-and-such, but rather people living the way God made them.

  3. Great ideas about churches working together/co-ordinating efforts. But how is it implemented in reality? I believe many churches and church leaders within local areas meet together, but then seem to continue either competing against each other or missing 'niches for business development.' So the real question is, "how do we co-ordinate services/missions, etc?"

    Much of the problems can be seen in the following example: I recall one church I went to had a small youthgroup which was struggling somewhat. A nearby church had a larger youthgroup which seemed to be running well? I suggested we join up with them, but was told many of the congregation "didn't want to lose the young people." The same can easily be said for other ministries: we don't want to lose our share of the market, even if it means "our share" (the souls being saved and discipled) are actually receiving better service.

    Hmmm. I think I've just created more problems than given answers. Oh well, Jon, I'll leave that all for you to solve.