I am a MAJOR believer in systems. Systems are structures that are put in place in an organization, on a team, in a department, etc… which help things to happen smoothly. They are ways of doing things. A rule is different – it says “always do this.” Systems are more flexible, and can be adapted to fit the needs of the situation. If any group of people agree upon a structure to move towards achieving a goal, the results are usually far greater than if each person goes their own way.

A good example of a system is a service running order document creating using a program like Planning Center. If it’s being used well, it tells you who is doing what, and when they are doing it. That enables the Production and Worship Teams to act as a unit – the lighting and audio people know who is leading on a given song, when background vocals enter, the song structure [ex Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Chorus Bridge Chorus Chorus] and the like.

The key is to remember the “why” behind things. A Planning Center document is designed to help a complex service run smoothly, and the more information that you have on it, the better – simpler things, like two worship leaders on acoustic guitars leading a brief time of worship in staff meeting, might not require a full-fledged Planning Center flow sheet. On the other hand, it might. If there are lighting cues, computer graphics, someone doing a devotional mid-song, etc… then having things written down helps keep everyone “on the same page.” [pun intended] The “why” is to make sure that everyone has the tools and the information that they need to succeed. 

“Rules create robots. Not systems. Systems are predetermined ways to achieve a result. The emphasis has to be on achieving the result, not the system for the system’s sake. That’s the difference between systems and rules. With a rule, the emphasis is on the procedure, not necessarily the result.” – Blanchard/Bowles, “Raving Fans” #creativeworshipideas

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