Whiteboard: Is Your Church On The Wall At Cracker Barrel?

November 25th 2014

In this whiteboard session, Rodney introduces the importance of processes in the church and explains how a solid purpose statement and wise use of technology will help your church grow.

Video Transcription:

Hi, welcome to an Elexio whiteboard.

You know, I’ve noticed that processes are all around us. Think about trash collection. It’s a very routine thing that happens for all of us, but imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have it supported by a well established process. You’d have to decide where are we going to put the trash in each room, who’s going to go around and collect it, who’s going to come pick it up and carry it away, what’s recyclable, what’s not? It’s become something that is very automatic because of a well-established process.

Today in our whiteboard, we’re talking about process, but something in a much more important vein than trash collection, and that’s processes in the local church.

I know what you may be thinking, “Hey, you know, process is good for things like trash collection, but people are different, and the church is all about people. People come in all different shapes and sizes.” I certainly agree, but how much more important to have well established processes for this much more complex task of working with people. It’s going to make you better at what you do.

Mostly, what we’ll be talking about today can be found here in this book, Allen Ratta’s “The Optimized Church.” In it, he largely spends time talking about the important processes of the local church. If you take a look in his book, you’ll see that he suggests that there are six Ps to effective church leadership. I’m going to leave it to you to read his book to find out about one through four. Our main topic today will be number five and number six.

Six is processes, but Allen suggests that it’s really hard to start talking about church process until you take a hard look at purpose. What is the purpose of the local church? Allen borrows some words from Rick Warren who wrote a fantastic book called “The Purpose Driven Church.”I’ll guess you’ve heard of it.

Allen suggests, along with Rick, that the purposes of the church can be identified into five major categories, worship, ministry, evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship. You may think to yourself, “I’d add some words there,” or you may be thinking, “I’d use different words there.” You could be right. It’s not Allen’s suggestion, nor is it ours here in the Elexio whiteboard, to suggest that this is the definitive list. I would say, and I would agree with what Allen says in the book, you’d be hard pressed to detract from this list. You certainly couldn’t say, “Oh, well, evangelism isn’t part of it.” Again, you may want to use a different word.

We’ll use this, as Allen does, as our basis for the big categories of the purposes of the church. The fifth P, again, is purpose, but Allen suggests you need to go a step further than this and move away from just key words and get it into something that’s a bit more memorable. He suggests that you put here a purpose statement. Gather the team at your church who might be involved in these sort of things and decide how can we, in a very succinct way, indicate what we’re about? Put it into a statement.

I’ll borrow one from a church that I saw which is, “making disciples, more and better.” I like it. It’s simple. It’s easy to remember. It goes nicely on the header on a website. I think that’s perfect, until your purpose statement, your church, maybe even you at your church, ends up on the wall at Cracker Barrel.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Cracker Barrel, like I really love Cracker Barrel. Just think about it. Home cooked food, shopping, and old fashioned candy when you’re done. It’s beautiful, it’s perfect but you know what one of my favorite parts of Cracker Barrel is actually? Is the decorations on the wall. They have old-timey advertisements. The best part are the things on the wall. You look at them and you’re like, “Oh, don’t really know what that is,” or sometimes you might have some sense. Sometimes, I see them and think, “I think my grandfather had one of those.” It’s not that the items on the wall don’t have a purpose. It’s that those purposes to me, a modern person, are irrelevant to my life. I don’t need them anymore. The sad thing is, despite the wonderful purposes of the church and your wonderful, easy-to-remember purpose statement, if your church isn’t relevant to the people you’re trying to serve, you’re on the wall at Cracker Barrel.

It’s certainly a bigger task than we can cover in this whiteboard to suggest all the ways that you might make yourself engaged with people rather than relegated to the wall of their grandfather’s time. I would suggest that there is a simple or a few simple things that you can do. The thing I would suggest and I would say is, you know what I’ve never seen on the wall at Cracker Barrel? Is a bluetooth controlled butter churn. Stick with me. Here’s what I’m talking about. I have seen a butter churn on the wall. Nobody needs a butter churn anymore, because we just go to the store and we buy butter. What I mean by that is if we were going to do butter churns today, it would have an app associated with it. It might be bluetooth controlled. We would have an app that we’d be able to monitor how the butter is going in the process. It would be like everything else in our life, like it or not. You may be watching this video thinking I don’t want technology, but like it or not that’s part of our world.

If you’re going to be a relevant, purpose driven church, if we’re stating our purpose, it needs to have technology inside your processes and outward facing things. We talked about, in a previous whiteboard, the importance of a nice looking website and not just nice looking but functional as well. In our last session, we also talked about an app, a great way that you can connect in a relevant way with the people that you are trying to effect these purposes on. There are ways that you most definitely can take yourself off the wall at Cracker Barrel.

Let’s talk real practical now. Where we’ll go in our next session is to talk more detailed about something that Allen suggests are macro processes. They go here. One is going to be acquisition in nature. The other is going to be maturation in nature. Again, we’re kind of working down. Your statement may not be like this, but I’m going to guess it’s something like this, making disciples more and better, the more is acquisition, the better is maturation. We’ll get into more of that and that’s a lot of what Allen talks about in his book.

Let’s talk real practical as we end up here. What can you do now, after you finish watching this video, tomorrow, when you’re thinking about it, in staff meeting this upcoming week? What can we do? I would say the first thing you can do is really take a hard assessment, a hard look at where you are now. If it’s good for you, put it in terms of Cracker Barrel. Are you on the wall and you’re so out of touch that people can’t even figure out who you are and what you are? They may think, “Oh yeah, my grandfather went to church, but I don’t.” Where are you in that realm? Take a hard look to assess where are you? I would suggest you need to think about it in terms of technology.

The final thing I would say is, that you can take action on this week, is get some help. It’s a recurring theme. I said it in our last whiteboard as well. Get some help. You’re trained in these things. There are people out there that are just as passionate about serving the church and serving Christ through technology as you are about the things you do. You can get help.

Call Elexio. That’s great. We’d be glad to help you, but there are other people as well. Get some help.

Next time in our whiteboard, we’ll fill out the rest of our triangle. We’re going to look at micro processes that affect the church.

Hey, thanks for watching our Elexio whiteboard.

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