Today I ran in the first of eight races that I plan to run this year. It was a fun one – Hot Chocolate 15k/5k (I did the 5k). Part of me is attempting to run these races because I want to challenge myself to keep training. The other part of me is running because of the SWAG (stuff we all get). The SWAG for this race included a hooded sweatshirt, as well as a hot chocolate mug at the end. So, how did the race end for me? Well, I was 1,403rd out of 5,992. To break it down, I was the 567th male out of 1,465. For my age (35-39), I was the 83rd male out of 193. It was a nice run, but I have a long way to go before I’m running well.

As mentioned in Part 2 of the Policies and Procedures posts, while policies and procedures are clearly different in purpose, they both have a place in the Church and that place is to help the Church run well – this means effectively and with great efficiency. Just like wearing loafers to a 5k won’t help you run well, when there are no policies and/or procedures in place, the Church cannot run well because of a gaping lack of clarity. As Welch explains, “Unplanned, disorganized activities are meaningless; thus, as administrators, we should orchestrate our leadership toward the end of productive output.”[1] That is, when the activities of a church, such as its policies and procedures, have no direction and are not clear, those activities lack purpose. Our job as leaders is to set the direction and to bring clarity into the organization. The end goal of our work is life change because of Jesus Christ, but also that work should be accomplished. Since policies and procedures are specific in action and direction, they have a place in the ministry of the church. There are two major reasons that policies and procedures provide efficiency and effectiveness.

The first reason policies and procedures have a place in the church is that they provide assistance to the leaders. Welch explains, “Policy and procedure statements offer significant assistance in the management and administration of the church or organization.”[2] Leaders gain because the policies and procedures become guides for operation. They communicate how business is done within the organization, provide information for the church body, and become training material for new staff and volunteers.[3] Leaders further gain because the policies and procedures turn “recurring problems into routine processes.”[4] When a problem occurs multiple times, a procedure is written to give step-by-step instructions for staff to resolve the issue when it occurs again. This allows all leaders the opportunity to focus on and resolve major issues.

The second reason policies and procedures have a place in the church is that they provide clarity. Welch additionally points out that, “Policies and procedures present to both those in the church and those outside an atmosphere of order, business, and sense of purpose.”[5] Clarity is achieved when there is order. By nature, policies and procedures are orderly. Through their orderliness, a sense of satisfaction and fairness is achieved. This results when all points are considered and unbiased decisions are made. Strong policies and procedures do not favor a particular group of people in the church, but seek to benefit every person through stated facts. Clarity is also achieved when there is a sense of purpose. Policies and procedures are the product of a well-defined mission and vision for an organization. The mission and vision state the purpose of the church. Policies and procedures are intended to guide the church to reaching its mission, thus they give a sense of purpose.

Effective leaders run the race well. To do this, it’s important to understand that policies and procedures have a place in the Church. They are not to be feared because of their rule-like nature, but should be embraced because they provide the leaders assistance and bring incredible clarity, not only into the Church, but into any organization.

[1] Ibid., 30.

[2] Ibid., 59.

[3] Ibid., 60.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 59.

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