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Silos: The Unspoken Barrier to Ministry
My name is Matthew McMaster and I have been a Delivery Manager at Fellowship Technologies since March of 2004. In that time I have implemented hundreds churches. Some of them have been very sophisticated in how they communicate within their ministries, but many of them have a real silo issue.
When each ministry functions as its own separate entity with little or no regard for the larger entity (the local church) as a whole, you have a group of silos; not a unified team. An example of this would be when the Youth Pastor gets their new students to fill out a first time visitor card. This seemingly ordinary process is really masking a silo issue. When you look closer at the first time visitor card you will notice it is missing some very important information.
- What are the parent's names?
- Do they have any siblings and what are their ages?
- What is the best way to get in touch with the parents?
- Do they have a church home?
Now the Youth pastor might say, "That information isn't necessary for me to reach that student." This is a silo mentality. The Youth Pastor is forgetting that the student is part of a larger entity of the family. Each member of the family is a potential soul needing to be reached. Each member of the family is the target market for other ministries at the local church.
Another example of a silo that I have seen involves working with multiple ministries trying to coordinate volunteer activities. There really is a best first time visitor with children process and it involves "Super Greeters" that can escort a family from one classroom to another explaining the check in and pick up processes. These "Super Greeters" naturally come from the Greeting team which is a separate ministry from the children's ministry.
I have heard from the leaders in this ministry on many occasions, "Why do I need to staff Greeters in the Children's Building? That is their responsibility!" This silo mentality is detrimental to the volunteers as well as potential guests.
There are many other types of silos but I think you get my point. So now you must be wondering, "What do I do to break down those silos?" The answer is deceptively simple: cross-functional Teams. In future blogs, I will discuss two specific cross functional teams but you can have many more. The first is the Fellowship One Champion Team and the second is the Data Integrity Team.