Creating a Monster

Systems are good, but beware of creating systems and structures that you cannot maintain.

I know many churches that develop ministry programs — children’s ministries seem to be repeat offenders in my experience — that require as many adult volunteers as participants, and sometimes up to one-quarter of the total Sunday worship attendance! The leaders of these ministries wonder why they can’t find enough volunteers and become frustrated when other staff don’t help them fill these needs.

Similarly, many ministries want flashy communications or detailed financial systems. It’s one thing to design and create these systems. It’s quite another to maintain them on a consistent basis.

If you are frustrated with the lack of volunteer participation or find yourself falling behind administratively, perhaps the problem is that your system is too big. You need to consider both needs and resources, both now and long-term, before creating a monster that could end up eating you alive.

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