We’d like to introduce you to another new Ministry Consultant on The Unstuck Group team. We’re excited to announce Blake Stanley has recently joined us. He has served on three different executive teams at churches ranging from 500-15,000 in attendance, including his current role as executive pastor at Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Georgia.
Blake’s done it all — facilities manager (glorified janitor, in his words), student and kids ministry, college & 20 somethings, small groups, multi-site director, finance manager — which has given him a real knack for building operational systems that work. Read on to learn a little about his background and perspective on church operations.
How did you discover your passion for helping churches get unstuck?
I traveled to visit a church planter to talk about a variety of issues he was facing a couple of years back. It was during this visit that a strong desire was born in me to invest in the capital “C” church. I remember leaving that meeting so energized, and I felt as if I really made a difference. I knew this was a direction I wanted to take my life.
I crossed paths with The Unstuck Group through a strategic planning process the team implemented at my current church a few years back. We talked about a potential relationship a few months later, and the rest is history.
Why do you think so many churches struggle to implement simple systems that work?
I think so many times ministry leaders (me included) allow our focus to be on the results and overlook the systems that can actually produce the results. Healthy, efficient and simple systems produce the type of results we’d like to see in our organization. Often we get the proverbial cart before the horse.
I’ve heard you talk about the pivotal role operational components play in getting any organization to its desired outcome. Could you expound on that thought?
Most leaders have no issues when it comes to casting a compelling vision. The great problem is that most great visionary leaders struggle with the tactical steps that it takes to get them to their desired outcome. They aren’t wired to manage the day-to-day.
The chasm between where you are and where you’re headed has to be filled with a solid operational process. I see this as an everyday issue in churches of all shapes and sizes.
Here’s a question I use as a filter:
“Is what I’m doing today positively impacting what I want to be tomorrow?”
If not, why do it? It’s sideways energy.
Most organizations are stuck in the viscous cycle of doing things that don’t matter. I love giving them permission to quit. I love helping leaders pull themselves out of the rut they’ve created and get unstuck!
How would you encourage pastors at churches that recognize they have a systems and operational excellence gap?
Ask for outside help. I know cost is always a factor. I get it. I manage a budget every day. We get so caught up in “paying” the bills that we neglect investing resources in tools that will lead us in the direction of God’s will. The return on investment is worth it. Trust me.
Photo Credit: Gratisography CC0