7 Warning Signs Your Church Has Ministry Silos: The Accountability Test

ministry silos

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As soon as the organization grows beyond one person, you run the risk that people will begin pulling in different directions. You want people using their unique wiring to engage the mission. God has designed each person with distinct personality, experiences and strengths that can make the team better.

But, if appropriate accountability isn’t in place, even the person with the best intentions can begin pulling the team in the wrong direction. And that brings us to this final test to identify potential ministry silos:

7. There’s a gap in accountability.

We think of accountability being primarily for the person responsible for getting tasks completed, but, in reality, the leaders or managers are really the key players. They must provide clear expectations and then make sure follow through really happens.

Beyond that, though, we also need to begin to consider accountability for the organization and not just the individual. In other words, the win needs to be clear for the team in order for it to be clear for each individual.

Here are a few tips for improving accountability for the team:

Start with your mission, vision and values. Having these statements eliminates a lot of the guesswork. They become the guard rails that make it easier for your team to know where they have boundaries and where they have freedom. The values, in particular, make it possible for more people to make better decisions without waiting for the boss to make the call.

Begin with the end in mind. Make sure you are focusing on clear, immediate initiatives that fulfill long-term goals for growth and health. When the team feels a healthy sense of pressure to produce in the present, they’ll also take on greater responsibility and ownership contributing to the win.

Build around cross-functional initiatives that involve the entire team. In other words, don’t let your goal-setting foster a silo-mindset. Begin with the “wins” for the entire ministry, and then work backwards to set team and individual expectations. As an example, the fact that a student ministry meets all their objectives doesn’t necessarily make a healthy church–all the ministries need to be pulling together to make a healthy church.

Create a simple scoreboard for the entire team. What are the goals that everyone is pulling together to reach? What are your key metrics for the entire church? If your only focus is on metrics at the ministry level, that can foster an “us” versus “them” culture. Measure, monitor and celebrate the metrics that reflect the overall health of the church. For more on this topic, read Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics that Keep a Pulse on Your Church’s Health.

How are you doing with this test? Do you have a gap in your systems for accountability? If so, that’s the seventh warning sign that your church may have ministry silos.

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