There are few organizations I admire as much as MAG Bookkeeping. Founded by Shannon and Bryan Miles, MAG Bookkeeping helps busy pastors and growing churches by serving as their virtual church bookkeeper connected to the duties of church accounting and payroll. Based throughout the United States, they work virtually to efficiently meet your bookkeeping needs so that you can protect and grow your leadership focus. They are the best!!!
To add value to the readers of this site, they were kind enough to provide the following guest post. Enjoy!
Whether you realize it or not, and whether you intend for it to be there or not, there’s probably a pretty sharp divide in your congregation. There are people who are engaged in “full-time ministry” (meaning they’re on your staff) and then there’s the rest of us, who wonder how our 8-to-5 jobs could possibly be contributing to the Kingdom.
But what if it was the other way around? What if those engaged in “full-time ministry” looked to the business leaders in your congregation for ways to better minister to our cities? Carey Nieuwhof put it so well in this post outlining the five things church leaders can learn from business leaders – “The majority of people who come to your church will walk out the door Sunday to go back into the business world Monday.”
So, what can we bring from the board room into the church offices?
- Don’t confuse frugality with morality. “Cheap” is not a spiritual gift. Don’t be so afraid of spending money that you miss out on the ministry opportunities God is giving you. Be a good steward, yes – seek counsel and discernment when it comes to how you invest your congregation’s resources (of both time and money). But don’t be afraid to spend those resources when you and your fellow leaders believe God is calling you to do so. Businesses know that in order to succeed with a new product or service, they’ve got to spend money on research and development, advertising, customer support – and that not all those investments are going to pan out. But if they don’t try, they’ll quickly fall behind their competitors who are innovating and launching new products. Ministry isn’t so very different. You’ll never reach new portions of your city, never bring new members through your doors if you don’t put in the resources.
- Start with the size of your vision, not the size of your budget. How many God-given visions have died on the boardroom table during a budget meeting? Decisions have to be made, we know – no one in either the business world or the church world has an unlimited budget. But instead of killing off ideas because the money isn’t there today, start sharing the vision. Talk with your congregation about what you believe God is calling your church to do. And see if the money doesn’t follow.
- Eliminate things that aren’t effective – and quickly. Business that keep pouring money into failing products aren’t in business very long. Successful companies realize when a product or service isn’t working, and stop supporting it. But in the church world, we’re much more likely to keep supporting a dying ministry under the guise of “grace.” And we do need to lead with grace, but not at the expense of truth. Don’t keep pouring your valuable and limited resources into projects that aren’t bearing fruit anymore.
- Create value for people – don’t extract it from them. So many churches struggle to find volunteers, because the ones they’ve got are overworked and burned out. No one means to do this, but the demands are pressing and you need somebody right now. But what if, rather than putting people into volunteer slots just to fill the space, you sought out the people who were really gifted and passionate about that particular ministry? What if you shared with people the difference this role could make in others’ lives, and invited them along to see what God is doing? Business who make sure that the right people are in the right roles are the ones that thrive. Churches who do the same are the ones who see lives changed and the Kingdom expanded.
- Make your “ask” personally and specifically. Don’t just make an announcement from the platform and say you’re looking for “somebody” to fill a role or make a donation. If you check your membership list, you’ll find that there’s no one there named “somebody.” Challenge your staff, your key volunteer leaders, and members of your congregation to specifically name people who can fill a role, make a donation, lead an effort. Business leaders don’t promote “somebody” to a senior role – they identify the leading candidates, outline a training plan to groom them for a new role, and then specifically appoint the leader to the new job. Do the same with your volunteer roles, your financial leaders, your future ministry partners – identify them, train them, and recognize them personally and specifically.
If you’re not doing these things in your church today, why not? What’s holding you back?
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