When we started Forefront we had an almost complete lack of systems. Here’s the way I think about it: Picture a bunch of athletic guys playing football. What did you picture?
- Guys running up to an imaginary line of scrimmage in a big back yard with a self-elected quarterback yelling, “Everyone get open!”?
- Or maybe it was those guys, but they did a quick huddle before the play, with the quarterback drawing out some routes for his receivers in the dirt and asking a few of the guys to stay back and block for him this time?
- Or perhaps it was one level up; a group of guys who play every Saturday morning in a park in a rec flag football league. The players each took assigned positions at the beginning of the season, and someone on the team put together a little playbook with which everyone has become familiar.
- Or you might have pictured the New England Patriots, the closest thing we currently have to a football dynasty, and probably the best coached and trained team on the planet. Individuals on the Patriots have specific positions, guys with similar positions meet with their position coach regularly, they all have an extensive and very strategic playbook, and they watch game film to analyze how they’re actually executing their plans. A bunch of athletic guys playing football can take many different forms.
Well, the same is true of church. There are churches where the leadership is flying by the seat of their proverbial pants everyday, and there are churches that have a very strategic plan, specific positions and teams, systems designed to achieve desired results, and who regularly evaluate the effectiveness of what they’re doing. When we started Forefront we were too close to the former, and now that I’m doing it again I hope to be much closer to the latter.
See, I’ve just had too much experience in the “reinvent the wheel everyday” and “Wait, who is supposed to do that?” kind of churches. There can be something cool and organic-feeling about that, but the problem is that it creates a lot of extra stress, often extra work, and usually things end up falling between the cracks. The biggest problem is that the “things” that fall between the cracks are often people. Someone who doesn’t get called. A person who isn’t followed-up with. A person who never really connects to, or never really grows at the church, not because anyone had a bad heart, but simply because they were overlooked.
A church needs effective systems. We’ve been working on that at Forefront, and we’ll start with that in Vegas…