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September 2021

Living Lessons


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REFRESH: Essential Systems


Church health is dependent on the blessing of the Holy Spirit, but the church also must establish a long-term plan. Every church must have eight essential systems in order to ensure everything gets done. Below is a bullet point outline of the eight systems. Each is a massive undertaking to develop, flesh out, and execute. Each system should be clearly defined, developed, and distributed so every leader and church member knows how it works.

System # 1 – Outreach

This includes everything your church does to introduce your church to the community, including web services (website, social media), marketing and advertising, printing, events, and more.

System #2 – Assimilation

Assimilation begins with first impressions and includes follow up with guests (phone calls, emails, texting, mail pieces, etc.) How does your church encourage first time guests to become second and third time guests to regular attenders? How does your church intentionally make this process happen? This is where discipleship begins and continues in system #3.

System #3 – Teaching

Teaching includes small group Bible study (Sunday School, life groups, etc.), pulpit ministry, children and youth ministry, special events (VBS, conferences, seminars, etc.), new believer’s classes, personal discipleship, and all other areas of teaching.

System #4 – Worship Planning

This includes stage décor, order of service, sermon topics or series, sermon research and preparation.

System #5 – Stewardship (Financial Policies)

Important financial policies include budgeting, reporting to donors, setting up financial accountability, creating multiple ways for people to give (cash, check, online, app, etc.), policies regarding raising money and giving towards special events, capital giving, missions, Christian education, local community projects and services, etc.

System #6 – Member Care

Member care includes caring for the flock—sick, shut-ins, widows/orphans, needy and hurting (counseling). Does all of this fall to the pastor? Deacons? Other leaders, group leaders, etc.?

System #7 – Leadership

Think of this in terms of ALL people involved in ministry. Do you have a hiring policy for paid staff? Does your church have a policies and procedures handbook? How do you recruit volunteers? What is expected? How does the church relieve people of duties? Who has authority? How are leaders trained and evaluated?

System #8 – Evaluation

What is the evaluation process for everything that happens in your church? What is the process for change? What “power” does the pastor have? Deacons? Who can make changes?

All of these systems must be determined and carried out for the church to be healthy. If your church does not have a well-thought-out plan and a way to execute the plan, it cannot be carried out. Having well-established systems eliminates the guess work about getting things done.

For more information, watch a video seminar on this important subject.

About the Columnist: Dr. Brad Ransom is director of church planting and chief training officer for North American Ministries. Contact Brad:

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