Eric Geiger said, “A local church filled with silos does not feel like one church but rather a disconnected collection of sub-ministries with their own visions and missions.”
I didn’t realize I had been doing ministry this way until a few years ago when I experienced a season in which silos were truly gone. Our church was in a campaign, and our pastor wanted the staff to teach the same content across all ministries. He gave us his sermon passages, and the StuMin and I, the KidMin, started writing. It was the most exciting time I’ve had in ministry as our entire church was reading and talking about the same things each week. Parents commented on how easy it was to have conversations with their kids and teens since they were all studying the same passages. It was during this season that I learned decreasing silo ministry wasn’t just about being on the same page and having the same mission but about teaching the same things.
This Led Me to Think:
Maybe our silos have been frustrating parents rather than equipping them to spiritually lead their families. There are parents who have kids in both our student and children’s ministries who are studying and learning from six or seven different passages a week to stay engaged in their small groups and in what their kids are learning. Wouldn’t it be easier for parents if we based at least one of our Students and Kids Bible studies on what our pastor preaches? What about our adult small groups? Wouldn’t it be easier for leaders and group members to talk about the same passage from the sermon rather than studying a different one? If we could decrease the number of different Bible passages being studied per week by at least half, there would be less frustration and more application and discussion.
Easy to Say, Hard to Do
The method of teaching the same passage or the same main point isn’t easy to carry out. It takes more work to write or put together lessons based on the pastor’s sermons than it does to buy a curriculum, but it’s worth it to make partnering with and equipping parents more effective. To many parents, amazing curriculum doesn’t matter as much as being able to easily talk to their kids about the Bible. I have seen kids light up when they told their parents what they learned during Bible study and their parents said, “Me too! Let’s talk about it.”
What Decreasing Ministry Silos Looks Like
1. Have a ministry plan from birth through senior adults with a clear flow of movement from one stage to the next.
2. Use the same language for mission, vision, and ministries in all ministry areas.
3. Teach the same passage or main point to all ages each week.
During this time of social distancing, we have the opportunity to change how we do things in ministry. I have found that the videos I put together which pair with the pastor’s sermon receive more comments than the rest, because parents are able to use them to further discuss the passage with their kids. Over the next several months, I and the rest of our staff are going to discuss ways to continue to decrease our silos so we can better equip our people to study and apply God’s Word to their lives and to lead their families well.