• Winners & Losers

Posted by: kidhelper on Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Winners & Losers: Program Priority Wars

In some church ministries one can find the alarming glimpse into what we might call turf wars. Basically, it is where one area of ministry tries to maintain dominance over others. So these ministries square off with all the trappings of warfare—to do battle for positions of favor.

Some of the ministries that I have seen that attempt a competitive edge: youth vs. children, Christian education vs. Worship, or outreach/ evangelism vs. building program.

It must be said, not all program priority is by this definition wrong. However, one program can become too dominant and too entrenched. With extended dominance one ministry can become untouchable—a land mind. To take this ministry on is usually ill advised or just insurmountable.

It is true that the priority that grew the church is often an emphasis upon one program priority—Worship Service. To shift to another priority could be tentative, because of the fear  of loosing some momentum. Notice, if this is the Pastor’s Pet (which all on the staff can perceive). To challenge this landmine, which might be set in stone, could be dangerous.  You might want to leave it alone (for now).

The healthy way for a church to deal with program priorities is the rotate them, so that all the staff get a turn in the lime light of favor. No one program should maintain dominance all the time. When the Preschool Program remodeling is in full swing, they are the program priority for a season. Then a shift to an all-church Christmas Outreach Program for the month of December might be front and center. All other programs are subservient to that emphasis. The problem comes when a few leaders and their programs fail to get a turn at being on top.

Here are some Program Priority Indicators, some clues that might indicate this exists.

1. The biggest program with the most people is one indicator.

2. Largest budget percentages are another contributor for this insight.

3. Amount of square footage of the facilities dedicated to the deployment of ministry tells all.

4. The inability to discuss or negotiate change in a program that appeared too locked into “this is the only way it can be done.”

5. Some programs have implied approval, but all other programs need negotiation to get included or validated.

6. Any programs that always get set on the annual calendar first and all others fill in.

7. Pet projects qualify, even though they are still small now—a huge future commitment.

Here are some insights that might help you deal with a known Program Priority.

1. Be patient with your church, there are cycles or seasons to ministry. There is room for all ministries to share the center stage.

2. Concentrate on growing the Children’s Program. This growth will push budget, staff, facilities, announcements, and resources.

3. Be willing to see the big picture, healthy churches do show great need for diversity and flexibility. Be willing to defer to your team and they might defer to your needs, or you can remind them that it fair to take a turn too.

4. Sometimes you just have to earn the program priority for a while, perhaps the children’s ministry has been so pushed down for so long it can be rewarded with good work.

5. Only challenge a program priority if you have exhausted every possible alternative you can imagine, before taking on the system.

6. Be willing to settle for smaller victories, i.e., one more room, an increase in budget, a new acquisition, a competing date approved on the calendar, some leader that you can share from the youth leadership team for VBS.

7. Demonstrate that you are a team player, not just looking out for yourself or for your program interests only. Be willing to acknowledge the good job of your leadership team. You will get your turn, but you might have to work hard to get it.

8. Challenge the budget, only if you can demonstrate that your program is growing and that your need for support is warranted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Leave a Comment