How to Effectively Address a Systems Problem With Your Team

If you have been on a church staff for any length of time, then you can probably think of at least one system at your church that affects everyone on staff that . . . well, honestly needs to be fixed. These “system failures” over time can lead to continual frustration, but another thing that you know if you have been on staff for any length of time is that most of us are so busy with our regular tasks that system problems can be overlooked time and time again.

This is why it is so important for each staff member to take the time to identify these system failures and then communicate to the team as to what is “breaking down” so that a solution can come to light. But let’s face it, a system failure is normally noticed in the middle of it failing us directly . . . so how do we communicate to our team what we have identified in the middle of the mess and the frustration?

Here are some things to consider:

1. In the middle of the mess I will be frustrated and flustered. At this point I need to write down what is going on. THAT’S IT for step one. If I rush into emailing my team or address the problem in a staff meeting while frustrated then I will more than likely come across in such a way that those interested will become defensive or worse . . . they will overlook great points I’m making due to the nature in which I am delivering my message. So, write it down and WALK AWAY.

2. After I’ve cooled down I need to ask myself this question: Does this certain system failure that I will address “call out” anyone else on my team? If the answer is yes then my next step is to go to that individual or team and let them know, in a kind and caring way, what is going on. My next question is simple: Is this a system failure that needs to be processed by the entire staff or just a few individuals? If the answer is that the entire staff needs to process the system failure then I should ask those directly in charge of the system to either bring this up to the entire staff OR to let me address the matter. Either way, by going to those who lead the system directly FIRST you have shown them the respect they deserve and they will more likely be willing to work with you in fixing the system failure.

3. At this point I will either need to submit to the authority in charge and trust that they will fix the problem . . . OR, if no one is directly in charge, I need to take the lead in managing the project . . . even if I don’t have time I need to make time. After all, I’m the one that is getting frustrated. This simply means that I will be more passionate than anyone else in making sure that the system is improved.

Bottom line, don’t hold stuff in. When something doesn’t work at church and you are the one who identifies the problem, then at that point it is your duty to call out that certain system failure. Simply be careful on how you handle addressing the situation so that you can have the greatest degree of influence as possible.


About Adam Bayne

I'm the Children's Pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN, a heavyweight Disney nerd, a lightweight sports fan, and an all-out fan of my wife and two daughters.
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