Like the business and government sector, the church needs to embrace the dogma of greatness. One of my passions is to help churches or Christian organizations implement best practice business standards. I have found that many pastors, church leaders, and local church boards have minimal business knowledge. This lack of training has lead to legal problems, which has ruined lives and drained financial resources from ministries. For example, I served in a church where a board member and a few other individuals decided that the church needed to replace the stove in the kitchen. So, one of them donated a stove, and they switched out the old stove for the new one. I explained that they could not do this, as we were still trying to get final occupancy for the building. (The church had built an addition 10 years ago and never got the final inspection done!) The stove (cost was $300) was replace anyways. Due to this decision, the church had to spend an additional unplanned $15,000 to put in a new stove hood to accommodate building codes.
Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, emphasizes five concepts that help any organization improve their standards.
These five concepts are:
1 – Defining “Great”— Calibrating Success without Business Metrics
2 – Level 5 Leadership— Getting Things Done within a Diffuse Power Structure
3 – First Who— Getting the Right People on the Bus within Social Sector Constraints 4 – The Hedgehog Concept— Rethinking the Economic Engine without a Profit Motive
5 – Turning the Flywheel— Building Momentum by Building the Brand
Changing the “DNA” is not easy and it must start with leadership, but once the process has begun and takes hold it can radically transform individuals and organizations into unstoppable forces.
Having definable metrics is one way an organization can determine if they are effective in their mission. Unlike business, which often uses finances as a key metric, Collins suggests “social sectors measure effectiveness by how effectively they deliver on their mission and make a distinctive impact, relative to their resources?” Many Western Churches use attendance and membership metrics to determine the effectiveness of their ministries. I have seen that some churches cut ministry efforts in the areas where they don’t see growth or a quick return on investment. Instead, they need to determine what their calling or mission is, and then measure how effectively they are accomplishing it. The church needs to stop worrying about how many people are in the seats every Sunday morning or how much they received in offering. They need to focus on doing the work they are called to do, and my experience has shown that the resources will flow naturally if the are pursuing God’s mission diligently.
Collins hypothesized that there two types of leadership skills found in the non-profit sector: executive and legislative. “In executive leadership, the individual leader has enough concentrated power to simply make the right decisions. In legislative leadership, on the other hand, no individual leader— not even the nominal chief executive— has enough structural power to make the most important decisions by himself or herself.”
A point that Collins makes is to get the right people, on the right bus, and in the right seats. Churches often put people in wrong positions, because they need a warm body to fill the role. Organizations need to fill positions in the church with diligence and care. They need to evaluate work performance with metrics. The author states that, “In the social sectors, where getting the wrong people off the bus can be more difficult than in a business, early assessment mechanisms turn out to be more important than hiring mechanisms. There is no perfect interviewing technique, no ideal hiring method; even the best executives make hiring mistakes. You can only know for certain about a person by working with that person.”
Collins also explained his Hedgehog concept. The essence of a Hedgehog Concept is to attain piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results, and then exercise the relentless discipline to say, “No thank you” to opportunities that fail the hedgehog test. This is where churches need to define what God has called them to do as a church body. For example, some churches are called to serve in the inner city, while others may be called to minister to older generations. Too many churches attempt to model themselves after the “big” church down the road. We each have a purpose in the body of Christ, so churches will fail if they put their efforts into being like someone else.
The last concept is the hardest to achieve. It is about getting people motivated and onboard with changing the culture of an organization. Most individuals do not like change because they fear a loss of power or control. Many Americans are extremely resistant to embracing new concepts or ideas that challenge our perceived notion of how things are done. They often live on their past successes, and forget that you must continuously change and adapt to move forward. A sign of an unhealthy organization is one who says “we’ve always done it this way.”
 Collins, Jim (2011-09-27). Good To Great And The Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great (Kindle Locations 41-47). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
 Ibid 79-81
 Ibid 145-147
 Ibid 204-206
 Ibid 239-241