Effectively leading a church or ministry organization requires many things-a motivating vision, a clear mission statement, an intentional strategy, high capacity staff members. No one questions these things. However, there is another fundamental requirement without which no ministry can thrive or sustain itself for the long haul-and too often it is either ignored or disregarded, especially by those in Christian ministry. According to Andy Stanley, that fundamental requirement is systems-communication systems, decision-making systems, budgeting systems, programming systems, structural systems and more. And it is systems, perhaps more than anything else, that determine what happens-or fails to happen-in an organization. Stanley writes, "You can pray your heart out, fast your heart out, commit your heart out and surrender your heart out to initiate change or launch a new ministry, but if you fail to address your systems, there will be no change and your ministry will not thrive. It's not because God is not interested or you're not spiritual, it's because God works through systems. Every time God creates something, there is something systematic and predictable about it. That doesn't make God predictable or small; it's just how God operates."
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