When the Senior Pastor Doesn’t Love Processes

Ever since we started talking about healthy systems, I’ve heard comments like these again and again:

“I’m just not a systems person.”

“We’re more of a make-it-up, week-to-week kind of church.”

“We don’t want to organize the Holy Spirit out of church.”

I feel you.

Believe it or not, I’m not naturally wired for systems and processes.

Before starting Church Fuel and creating The Systems Course, I was a church planter. And before that, I was a youth pastor. It’s not like those two professions are known for being organized.

Even today, I’d rather dream up plans I don’t have to execute and talk big picture strategy that someone else will manage.

What to do when the Senior Pastor doesn't like processes

If you can relate, here are three things to consider.

#1 – You don’t have to be good at something to value it.

Just because you’re not good at something doesn’t mean it’s worthless. I don’t have to be good at basketball to appreciate Michael Jordan. I don’t have to be good at investment to appreciate Warren Buffet. I don’t have to be a talented musician to value The Beatles.

There are lots of talents I do not possess that I admire and value.

The same is true in your church. You don’t have to be a process person to see the value of creating healthy systems.

Don’t let your personality keep you from assigning value – that’s a sign of immaturity. A great leader will recognize that his or her personality doesn’t paint a complete picture of how the church should work.

Don’t let your personal wiring become a prideful roadblock. Even if you’re not a process person, understand the value they can bring in the first place.

#2 – Systems are in service of something greater.

When people tell me they don’t like systems, I try to dig a little deeper and get to the root benefit.

See, systems aren’t about personality. They aren’t even about organizing everything and making things go more smoothly.  

Healthy systems are about the mission and vision of the church.

Better systems lead to better disciples.

That’s really the point of it all.

A proven process to move people into groups will accomplish far more than a passionate sermon on the topic. A simple and repeatable process to follow up with guests and help them take the first step will do more than casting vision for creating a welcoming church.

Systems are not the point…where the system leads is the point.

If you’re not a process person, that’s okay. Because there’s something far more important at stake. Systems support the vision, and that’s what matters.

#3 – Someone in your church thinks this way.

If you’re not a process-loving pastor, don’t try to change your wiring. God didn’t make you that way, and that’s a good thing.

But don’t discount the fact that God wired other people differently. There are people, volunteers, and leaders in your church who think systems first.

That’s why we recommend you choose a champion to help you implement healthy systems. Even if you wanted to, you can’t do it all. You need others, or at least one person, who is wired for details. The same details you hate are the details they love.

Here’s another way to say it: How people need wow people. If you’re a visionary leader who doesn’t want to come down from the visionary mountain, that’s okay. Your church needs you to be the wow person.

But don’t be shortsighted. All wow with no how isn’t going to lead anywhere. You’ll actually just wear people out with ideas and vision. So get a few how people around you – people who know how to get things done. Don’t diminish their contribution just because it’s different from yours.

If you’re not the type of pastors who loves systems and processes, you can still value them and see the benefits from them in your church.

More Resources for Senior Pastors

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