The Three-Team Model for Church Growth

How many meetings do you go to in a week?

My guess: too many. If meetings have overtaken your calendar, it’s probably because you’re a part of a bunch of teams. 

Organizations have jumped on the team approach and away from the “department” approach; they form teams of staff from different departments to address unique challenges that can best be handled inter-departmentally. Whether it’s a cross-departmental leadership team or a fun committee, organizations are leaning on these teams more and more often to shake up the status quo and add vibrancy and creativity. 

This is especially true in large, modern churches, which often have a number of teams shaping ministry. This approach is at the other end of a pendulum swing away from the old days of the “Pastor + Secretary” ministry model, where a single pastor or leader had a single administrative support person, and they recruited volunteers, and ran ministry programs – setting up competition for resources, like budget or volunteers. This led to too many silos of ministry, and didn’t help churches scale.

The team-driven approach is meant for just that: scalability of ministry. You get a bunch of people all interested in the same kind of function (and hopefully gifted for it) all meeting on a regular basis to lead and manage certain core functions in your church.

There’s one problem, however: good people end up on too many teams. 

So how do you get team-mania under control?

Let’s take a look at the three core functions at your church: teaching, Sunday experience, and growth.

First, teaching. Teaching isn’t just your sermon; it’s all the content you put out through all your communications channels: website, social media, blog, podcast, YouTube, etc. Teaching sets the agenda for your church: what are you asking people to think about, respond to, do differently? Think about what you talk about on Sundays, from volunteerism to giving to missional living: who provides the backbone, the cornerstone, for the messages that go out? That’s the function of the teaching team. It’s a combination of alignment, theology, and creativity.

Next, experience. Who’s thinking about the flow of your worship service? Your church lobby? The level of training your welcome team volunteers receive? The lights, the music, the announcements? Your visitors?

A visitor has made up their mind about whether they want to return to your church within the first 9 minutes they are there. Who’s in charge of that first impression of your church?

Create a team to focus on the entire Sunday experience, from the building to the interactions with people. Call it the Experience Team.

Last: the Growth Team. This team is focused on reaching more people with your message. They plan social media, generate content that gets shared on Sundays and midweek, and brainstorm guerrilla marketing techniques. They manage your inbound marketing and help you track the effectiveness of every event, activity, and initiative.

The hardest part of this three-team model is getting started. Do you divide your staff up onto teams, or let them self-select? What if a staff member or department is already in charge of one of these cornerstone growth areas? It’s not easy.

Want help getting started? Contact me – I’m ready to help.

Written by jaredwilley

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