Organizational Intelligence and Energy

We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. – Jon Gordon

UnknownIn his book, The Energy Bus, author Jon Gordon makes the case that organizational energy is fundamental to the success of any enterprise. We agree. Energy represents one of two bottom line measurements of church vitality (the other being satisfaction).

There are three characteristics of energy: intensity, pace, and endurance. High energy churches are enthusiastically engaged in their mission, they move their mission forward from ideas to action without miring down, and they sustain efforts over the long term in a manner that is self-replicating.   One of the mistakes that churches make with regard to energy is the failure to distinguish between baseline energy functions and premium energy functions.

Baseline energy functions are those that people expect a church to exhibit as a minimum requirement. Research indicates that these include competent leadership, positive relationships, a safe and comfortable environment, and the fair treatment of individuals and groups. Baseline energy functions can only take a church so far. Once people feel good about the relationships within the church, passing the peace an extra time in worship won’t generate higher energy.

Premium energy functions are those that build on baseline energy functions and take energy to levels that people experience as exceptional. Premium energy functions include:

· Helping members and groups make significant achievements related to the mission
· Matching the gifts and motivations of members to ministry assignments
· Celebrating member and group contributions to the mission
· Offering members and groups opportunities for personal growth and development

When churches have low comparative scores in the area of hospitality, leaders often object that only a small percentages of folks are on the negative side of the questions. What they fail to realize is people today expect a church to have excellent relationships among themselves and guests. When a significant number of respondents are on the fence, a church will generally have difficulty generating baseline energy, and it becomes nearly impossible to generate the high level of energy that makes a church “hum” with spiritual electricity.

Russ Crabtree

Founder of Holy Cow! Consulting