How Churches Can Get Out of Alignment

Like teeth or a car's tires, churches can get out of alignment. (Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash)

Whether it's your car's steering or the lower back or your kid's teeth, many professions are trained in the art of alignment.

Whether you hit a pothole, you reach too far into the dryer for that last sock or it's just simple genetics—we all have a need for the occasional alignment.

Our churches are the same.

There are constant shifts in our staff team, our congregation and our community. We wake up one morning (probably a Monday) and everything just feels "off."

We need an adjustment.

How do churches get out of alignment?

A few examples:

Staff: A well-loved staff member retires or takes a new call. The new team member comes with their own experience, style and vision. They are well-intentioned but different in how they think about and "do" ministry. You are out of alignment.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Congregation: Your vision is to reach people far from God. Your church is now full of people who know God and have strong preferences regarding what the church "should" do for them. Your activities and programs reflect the desires of those already "inside" and your mission to reach those "outside" is compromised. You are out of alignment.

Community: When you arrived, the neighborhood was 60% empty-nesters and single people. That was 20 years ago. The community has turned over and is now full of young families and professionals, but your ministry hasn't changed. You are out of alignment.

Misalignment undermines staff health, diminishes engagement and decreases impact and investment.

Get aligned!

The mechanic employs wrenches, hammers and brute strength to get a car to drive smoothly down the road. The chiropractor applies a series of quick and forceful snaps to move vertebrae to their proper position. The orthodontist uses less pressure but significantly more time to align the molars and incisors for that perfect smile.

Similar to our well-trained friends, we need the appropriate tools and strategies to bring about alignment in our churches. The first step is to determine which method will be the most effective. This is not the same as which is least painful.

Alignment examples:

Staff: (Chiro: Quick, forceful snap!) Set aside weekly time (this week!) to study the Word and pray as a team. Unfortunately, many church teams do not read the Word or pray together on a regular basis! "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain" (Ps. 127:1). Spiritual work requires spiritual resources. Recast mission and vision, listen to what they are seeing and sensing in their areas of ministry, and make the necessary adjustments. Again, make the adjustments; don't just talk about it.

Congregation: (Ortho: Less pressure, more time.) Slowly invite and introduce new ministry "ideas and experiments" while decreasing attention on the things "we've always done." New leaders will emerge, new ministries will flourish and new investment will flow. People gravitate toward what you celebrate!

Community: (Mechanic: Wrenches and hammers.) Make some noise; let them know you're there! It's likely they don't! Engage local schools, food shelves and homeless shelters. Offer helpful, practical classes on parenting, finances and marriage. Start where they are and move them toward the gospel. This will be messy and uncomfortable. You will get your hands dirty, but it will get you driving straight down the road to life-changing community impact!

Alignment is not a "one and done" activity. It requires constant attention and adjustment, but the benefits are significant. Your staff will be motivated, your congregation will be fully engaged and your community will be transformed by the power of a church on mission.

As we head into 2020, let's commit to realigning our churches around God's priorities, not our preferences, to serve God's glory, not our goals.

For a free assessment on your church's effectiveness and alignment, take this quick (and fun) survey:

Jon Wright has worked as an entrepreneur and executive pastor. He brings to the Generis team 30 years' experience in innovation and execution in multiple settings—corporate, non-profit, church and global missions. He is passionate about the local church and serves to create healthy, dynamic teams that lead growing and effective ministry.

For the original article, visit

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders