At The Unstuck Group, we use the word growth engine to describe a ministry component that drives the vision and growth of the church. While working with churches, often different engines emerge, but there are a few that seem to always show up. Typically engines such as assimilation, small groups, leadership development or outreach always make it to the whiteboard. Growth engines help churches break through growth barriers.
Growth engines are vital for church growth. Imagine a brand new car, decked out with leather and all the extras, but with an old clunky engine under the hood. While the car may look good at first glance, cosmetics will not take us very far.
Here are a few things we know to be true about engines:
- Engines consist of many working parts, but should make one harmonious sound. When you hear something knocking, it's a sign that something needs repaired, retooled or replaced.
- Engines need both oil and water in order to operate efficiently. One is not more important than the other.
- Engines have a tachometer to measure pressure and load; this keeps the engine operating in a healthy zone without blowing anything up.
- Engines cannot operate without friction, which means they require scheduled maintenance.
Now, let's translate this into the church world. What are the top four or five growth engines in your church that drives both growth and vision? As you answer those questions, here's some things to remember about those engines.
- Growth engines typically have many working parts (e.g. children's ministry has a children's pastor, teachers, volunteer coordinator, etc); the objective is for all the different parts to make one sound of unity. If you hear a lot of knocking and pinging, the engine needs immediate attention.
- While chemistry is one of the most important elements of teamwork, it doesn't always exists among everyone on the team. Different personalities and gifting are often necessary to move a ministry further along. Much like oil and water, though there's some resistance between the two, both are needed to for optimal engine performance.
- Growth engines need a tachometer. As pastors and leaders, we have to understand what healthy pressure looks like. Overloading an engine will eventually blow something up and not enough pressure will result in little progress.
- Because growth engines are geared with people and movement, friction will always occur. Anytime there is friction, there will always be wear and tear. Regular health checks on your leaders, teams and processes can help your growth engine run longer and further.