What I’m Learning Outside the Church Bubble: Day Three

By Jan Edmiston, DMin. ‘01

This is the third of a three-part series by popular blogger and Columbia Theological Seminary graduate Jan Edmiston. (See the first here, and see the second here.) In this series, she examines different ways the Church can utilize secular business practices and principles in the “business” of running a church. In this post, she looks at the connection between organizational efficiency and spiritual effectiveness. The two are more connected than many realize!

On Wednesday we learned about partnerships.

I’ve become a big fan of the Kellogg School’s Non-Profit Management program which is very faith-friendly while also expanding our Churchy horizons. I strongly recommend that you check them out.

Kellogg’s School of Management has partnered with the non-profit community via this program in a way that models how our congregations might also partner with business, government, and other organizations to form multi-party coalitions serving common causes. In the congregation I once served, our church (via a 501c3) partnered with state and local government entities and international and local businesses to create a computer training program that – by the time I left – had equipped over 800 adults in computer skills. That, my friends, is an effective partnership.

Working with our individual staff and officers of a particular congregation involves constant negotiation, coalition building, and team development. Here are the tips of the day:

I’ve often felt allergic to business practices in church and I’ll admit that I’m still wary in some cases. But we in the Church need to hone our skills in leading meetings and understanding finances and training volunteers. It’s urgent that we are organizationally efficient so that we can be spiritually effective.

This is the final installment of Edmiston’s three-part series, but be sure to check out parts 1 and 2. And if you missed “When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can Bring In Young Families” you can read it here.

Jan Edmiston is the associate executive presbytery for ministry in the Presbytery of Chicago, where she has served since 2011. Prior to that she served congregations in northern Virginia and New York. She completed her MDiv at Andover Newton Theological School and her DMin in Christian Spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in 2001. She has graciously agreed to let us repost some of her blog entries (including guest bloggers) from A Church for Starving Artists.

And when you need to re-enter the church bubble, the Center for Lifelong Learning offers courses on preaching and teaching for those in the pulpit and those in the pew. Visit our course list here to learn more about our classes.

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