Question: How can I transform an environment where everyone runs their own campaign? Missions do their own thing. Student leaders do their own thing. Small groups do their own thing. The pastors do their own thing. And, the pattern repeats throughout the whole church. It’s impossible for anyone to make sense of our perpetual voices much less find the main message.
Most people find it too exhausting to tackle silos. It’s easier to ignore them and just let people do their own thing. I encourage you … tackle the transformation! It’s worth it. When individual departments compete against each other, you end up with a carnival communication style where everyone fights to out-yell or out-explain each other. Chaos.
While I can’t tell you how to fix everything once and for all, I can tell you 5 places to start steering passionate people in a more productive direction.
In an organization, interdependencies exist among each other—resources and assets. We thrive when we have the ability to negotiate among these dependencies and find a middle ground where empowerment and decision-making align. If we each serve up a different experience, run off in our own individual directions—information gets lost or isolated. People and projects proliferate—as does confusion. This creates real liabilities for the church as a whole and puts a lid on overall impact. (Although, this is not a problem isolated to churches. It happens in businesses, government and schools every day.)
So how do you resolve it? Connect multiple areas to operate as part of a larger family.
- Use the same mission statement. Multiple, unique mission statements across a single organization create chaos, conflict and breeds more silos. One mission statement transcends specific departments to unify the whole. If everyone is working toward the same goal, there will be less territorialism and more teamwork. Every ministry, every team, every employee, every volunteer leader is pulling for the same win.
Our mission statement at Granger is “Helping people take their next step toward Christ…together.” That mission statement applies to every ministry. It doesn’t mean the mission statement action steps can’t be tailored to a specific audience. But, everybody is working toward the same goal, like-minded, maintaining alignment. “Helping students take their next step toward Christ…together.” “Helping women take their next step toward Christ…together.” “Helping people afraid of dogs take their next steps toward Christ…together.”
- Use one budget for the whole church. There’s different categories for each ministry, but one church budget.
- One database. Single version of reality—reports and contacts.
- One web site. One church, multiple ministries. Not the other way around.
- One kitchen. Not individual cabinets for different ministries.
All of these steps help dissolve silos. It just takes time and you have to tackle them one at a time. All along the way, you’ll have more success if you can effectively communicate what’s at risk if you don’t do this. Nobody will be motivated to change their “old way of doing things” if they don’t know what’s at stake. It’s up to you to cast vision for a bigger story; one everybody is part of … not a bunch of little stories that send schizophrenic messages to outsiders.
There you have it. Start with the core controls like mission, budget, database, web site and kitchen.