Deconstructing Church Ministry (1): Lessons From Agile SW Development

I have long believed that there are lessons we should learn from the business world that help us run church ministries better. Recently I’ve been thinking about a problem with church ministries. Often in churches we look to the pastor as the one guy who sets all the goals and directions for us. At the beginning of the year, he would lay out the plan for the whole year and everyone in the church would follow that plan. In one case, I was in a church where the pastor laid out a 5-year-plan and we never questioned it for 5 years. Some people find a lot of comfort and sense of security knowing that the pastor has a detailed plan for the church. But the more I think about it, I see problems with it.

In my line of work (software engineering), I often use principles from Agile Software Development. Two of the principles from the Agile Manifesto are: “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “Responding to change over following a plan”. I think there’s some stuff to learn from it, which I’ll discuss in detail in upcoming posts.

First a disclaimer: I’m not advocating running church ministries like a software company (although I read an example of a church using Scrum (an agile SW method)… again, that’s NOT what I’m advocating here). However, I fear that sometimes when we do things, we never question why we do the things we do. Often times we do it because “that was the way it was done before.” And when we explore more in upcoming posts, you’ll see how recent Christian authors and also examples in the Bible seem to suggest that we really should seriously re-think, or even deconstruct, how church ministries are run.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow.

Deconstructing Church Ministry (1): Lessons From Agile SW Development
Deconstructing Church Ministry (2): Corporate Discernment
Deconstructing Church Ministry (3): Prepared For Change
Deconstructing Church Ministry (4): Examples

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