the sky floor

April 2, 2021

If You’re a Church, Don’t Act Like a Business

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The Sky Floor works with several churches in an ongoing capacity, and we frequently create new church websites for our clients. 

It’s Easter weekend, so it seems fitting to share a little about a troubling trend in some churches. (I can gratefully say this doesn’t apply to any of our current church clients.)

If you are a church, don’t act like a business!

It sounds easy enough, but we have run into a business mindset vs. a ministry mindset time and time again. We have sat in meetings where senior leadership referred to church-goers as “giving-units.” We have seen marketing take the place of doing and going. We have seen how the church looks matter more than who they are. 

The bottom line is; how you treat your people matters more than the bottom line. I don’t believe ministries should be in tons of debt. But paying employees well should be a value of the church. 

How churches treat employees is the first place acting like a business rears its head. If you go to church or are looking for one, find out about this as a value – it is valuable in identifying the culture. 

Aren’t There Some Good Things About Having Business Savvy?

Here is a crucial distinction. I am not saying to have a poorly managed budget, staff, building, or strategy. Simply that churches should avoid acting like a business. 

Please do have a great website. Focus on having a solvent budget. Track and analyze all the metrics you can. But don’t let how you act on that information become more like a business than a church. 

It’s not business; it’s personal. 

The best companies are personal too, but they can sometimes afford to be all about the business, the bottom line. A church should always start and end with the person, whether staff, members, or visitors. The problem with seeing members as “giving-units” is they become a dollar sign and not people. It is a subtle shift, but eventually, the “giving-units” will feel it, and they won’t like it.

The best marketing a church can have is to live out its mission. But not because it is the best marketing. Why we do what we do matters so much. 

A healthy church isn’t a strategy; it is a calling. 

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