Without the miracle of unity, churches divide and ministry suffers.
Unity reflects the glory and character of God because God is unified.
Both of these quotes are taken from page 167. Unity is extremely important to a church body. Once everyone is pulling in the same direction God can use the people to accomplish great things. Alignment is another word for unity. Alignment is defined as “the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process“. Unity.
The authors give 5 points to help promote and achieve alignment in the simple church. They are:
- Recruit on the process
- Offer accountability
- Implement the same process everywhere
- Unite around the process
- New ministry alignment
The leaders of the church must be on the same page for there to be alignment. For the leader to be on the same page they must share a ministry philosophy and be in agreement about the process. If the leaders are not in agreement on ministry philosophy or the process then there is no way the congregation will be. The best way to insure that the leaders are in agreement is to only put people into leadership positions who are committed to the process and philosophy of the church.
Next, the leaders must be held accountable to the process. “Without accountability, people naturally drift away from the declared ministry process.” (p. 175) There needs to be some sort of evaluation or feedback for the leaders so they know how they are doing in achieving the goals of their part of the process. This authors mention that this does not have to be “painful” for either side….it does not have to be adversarial. In the proper context, it can actually bring freedom to the leaders.
The same process must be implemented in all ministry areas. The children, youth, adults, etc. must all be following the same process. Each area is free to be creative in how it moves people along the process but the process is the same. For example, the children’s ministry will use different materials / program than the adult ministry to move people from one stage to the next in the process. Different ages and spiritual maturities will require different approach but with the same goals….moving people through the process. The authors mention 3 benefits to this: understanding is increased, unity is promoted, and families experience the same process.
When people are united, as I said earlier, they can be a powerful force for God to use. When there is alignment, people can unite around the process. They can all be moving in the same direction with the same goal. The group can accomplish a great deal more than all the people working individually. Uniting around the process means “leaders agree on how ministry is done at your church.” (p. 185)
“The most challenging aspect of alignment is pulling existing ministries and existing staff in the same direction, especially if they have been moving in opposite directions.” (p. 187) This is where the rubber meets the road. When it is time to make the changes and is difficult. People do not like change. It makes us uncomfortable. To gain alignment all existing programs have to be evaluated for if and how they fit into the process. They may have to be eliminated or modified. Alignment is crucial to the success of a simple church.