Ministry Silos: Good or Bad?
I am amazed at how many churches spend a lot of time defining their Mission, Vision and Goals without ever ensuring that the practical plans of the various ministries lead to success. The cumulative effect of all of the ministry processes should logically result in the accomplishment of the mission and vision of the church. I feel it necessary to point out that I do realize that if God does not show up, all of the plans are meaningless. But I also think that it is poor stewardship to allow the plans to be an obstacle to ministry! Unfortunately, certain ministry processes are sometimes in conflict with processes of other ministries, and even those not in direct conflict are seldom designed to work in concert together. The result is a series of ministry silos which operate independently of one another.
Much has been written about ministry silos and how they should be avoided, but this is easier said than done. The fact is, there needs to be some division of labor and focus in order for the ministries to be effective. Compounding the situation, ministries are led in many cases by lay people who are volunteering their time and talents. The combination of the need for specialization and the need for lay leadership naturally moves toward a “church within a church” situation. I believe that the proper function and operation
of the silos makes all the difference.
Since silos are a natural occurrence, care must be taken to prevent them from resulting in isolated and underachieving ministries
. It is critically important to create tactical plans designed to foster continuity and to keep information flowing between ministries. There are several key areas of understanding required in order to create effective plans.
- Each ministry needs to understand their impact on other ministries as well as the ones on which they are dependent.
- Each ministry needs to have a good grasp on how families connect and move through the church, and how their particular ministry facilitates the movement.
- Each ministry needs to understand their role in the church’s master plan as defined in their mission/vision statement. Ministry leaders, both staff and volunteer, need such perspective, but they seldom have it.
Proper understanding and appreciation of ministry silos is necessary to avoid the pitfalls. Properly managed, they can help produce dynamic and thriving ministries. Managed poorly, they will result in a collection of disparate ministries with little cohesion and uncertain direction.