Are You Working Your Systems or Are They Working You?

I’m a huge believer in organizational systems and processes as long as they play servant to calling, heart, vision and mission. With them, things get done and organizations move forward.

Without them, you simply can’t be effective or efficient.

The problem kicks in when we flip things around and make it all about our systems. The minute they dominate your ministry, you risk forfeiting what truly matters—transformed lives.

Here are a few thoughts to help you stay balanced.

  1. Make sure your systems and processes are thoughtful and streamlined.
  2. Continually assess and refine them to ensure their effectiveness.
  3. Develop and use systems as pawns not kings. Systems should serve you, not the other way around. They should enable ministry effectiveness and serve ministry objectives. Systems are simply a means to an end. Changed lives and Kingdom impact—that’s the stuff that really matters. Ask the hard question: Is this system or process facilitating life change?
  4. If your systems are frustrating people, slow down and ask why.
  5. Invite feedback and input into your system (this should be part of your system).
  6. Once you’ve been given feedback to your systems, incorporate the recommendations that make sense and do something with what you’ve learned.
  7. Most importantly: Work the system. A system that’s not worked simply will not work.

Do you value systems and processes? Tolerate them? Hate them? Please post your thoughts.

Copyright © 2010 The Resonate Group, Inc. and Kerry Bural



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11 thoughts on “Are You Working Your Systems or Are They Working You?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Are You Working Your Systems or Are They Working You? | Ministry Marketing Coach --

  2. Value them…when they’re done right. However, I fear that too often the church values them above relationships and people. I don’t think the majority of churches have found the proper balance yet.

  3. Kerry – fantastic article. I think you and I could be good friends. :)

    I’m a firm believer in systems and processes, and developing effective solutions to remove bottlenecks and inefficiency. Our church today NEEDS to focus on optimizing the value we deliver and eliminating any non value added activities in order to be sustainable in this economy.

    I’m looking forward to more great articles like this! Anyone interested in learning more about what I call “The Lean Church” can visit

    Andrew Hunter

  4. Pingback: Are You Working Your Systems or Are They Working You? | Cprecis

  5. Dang. Great post. You hit me between the eyes. It’s funny. As I learn to implement systems, the tendency is for them to take over! They make me comfortable. They’re predictable. But you’re right: when they’re priority over the mission, we’re messed up! Thanks for this post!

  6. Thanks, Mark! Yes, the tendency IS for them to take over. If kept in check, they can serve you well. My pleasure to post this. Thanks for checking it out!


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  8. Kerry.

    great post! As Pastors, we often underestimate the value of systems and processes. Systems and processes is shepherding. People need clear pathways that led to the intended goals.


    • Derwin,

      Developing "clear pathways that lead to the intended goals" is a beast, but well worth it! ;)

      Thanks for your comments!