Working with Faith-Based Organisations

Working With Faith-Based Organisations

Organisations are social units. Individuals within organisations are expected to work collectively to achieve specific aims and objectives, and they are equally accountable for the outcomes. These characteristics of secular or business organisations are the same as faith organisations. Whereas secular organisations have the resources and skills to invest in human capital through training, most faith organisations do not have such privilege to invest in volunteers who are the lifeblood of the church even though training is known to impact performance and motivation positively.
Providing adequate training for volunteers creates an opportunity to share the vision and mission of the church.  It also encourages volunteers to take ownership of the underpinning values of the church while working towards a collective goal.  Training also creates a learning culture particularly for volunteers who have been assigned leadership positions but have no experience of leading in any context. For such leaders, there is a proclivity to seek power in church leadership positions, particularly if the opportunity to exert power in other areas of their lives is not evident. A study conducted by the Natural Church Development Network indicate that leadership development in churches has been consistently low. Volunteers taking up leadership roles particularly, those heading various departments in churches need resourcing to equip them with the distinctive qualities of godly leadership.

Leading today’s faith organisation requires unique skills. While it is crucial to develop faith-filled leaders in churches, it is equally important to acquire the skills needed for the effective 21st-century organisation. The focus on spirituality/theology without relevant leadership skills can lead some leaders to ignore key aspects of their discipleship about how they build a relationship as this may end up inflicting more harm particularly on people who are broken, confused, suffering, dejected or searching for meaning in life. It is evident that ill-equipped leaders can lead to destruction and leave people disillusioned.
The rapid rate of change in our environment is astounding and periods of change require effective leadership skills. Like any secular organisation, there is indeed a direct link between leadership and the health and growth of a church.