Pastors: Your Org Chart is Stressing Everybody Out

As a Pastor, you’re leading an organization whose success largely depends on consistency.

Consistency of message.

Consistency of experience. 

Consistency of culture.

Yet, this consistency is built largely upon an organizational structure comprised of one of the most inconsistent brands of human being: volunteers.

So here you are, trying to build a steadfast vision and a solid culture, but every time you get that perfect person in the perfect seat on the bus (shoutout to Jim Collins), one of your key players gets off at the next stop.

We’ve all been there.

  • We build entire creative teams around one gifted videographer who is now moving to Portland to get married.
  • We design our ideal organizational structure only to realize that it would require approximately 86% of our total church membership to make it work.
  • We overload our best and brightest by making them lead 6 different teams while the encouragement we offer is to urge them to “develop more leaders!”

Why do we do this? 

Well, consistency. We feel the need – and by “need” I mean the overwhelming, night-sweats, pit-in-your-stomach urge – to make sure that our Sunday experience is excellent, no matter how many people we have present on our teams from week-to-week help pull this off.

We determine standards of excellence for our teams that require 100 people to execute, and we keep those same standards in place even when we have 50 (and then we get frustrated with our teams when the experience is, well, inconsistent.)

And who does it put pressure on when you refuse to adjust your standards to reality? 

Your leadership team.

Your most valuable and loyal constituency. 

They’re held to immovable standards of excellence regardless of the human resources they have available. 

Maybe it’s time to embrace the humanity of your church and allow for the experience to fluctuate a little bit. Let it reflect the nature of who you’re here to serve…humans.

Here’s how we can put that in practice. 

Make “excellence” a continuum rather than an absolute.

Here’s what I mean. 

There should be a definition of “excellent” that's achievable based on who shows up to execute it.

If 100% of your volunteers are available, then you expect the highest level of excellence on the continuum. 

If it’s one of those Sundays when only 50% of the people you need show up, you have a different standard of excellence. 

This doesn’t have to mean the experience is only half as good for your members and guests; it just means that the measure of success is adjusted to reality.

Maybe you don’t have 162 perfectly-edited photos for Insta this week. 

A few solid iPhone pics won’t kill you from time to time.

I’m not saying you should have a great experience one week and then have Karen singing a capella the next, nor should you let it slide if your team leaders are consistently shooting for bare minimum, but maybe your church being a little more human will not only take some unhealthy pressure off your leadership team, but it might actually create an opening for more of your church to get involved

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