People, Process, and Product – in the Church

LIVING AS APPRENTICES

Marcus LemonisMarcus Lemonis was adopted from an orphanage in Beirut during the chaos of civil war and foreign invasions when he was 9 months old and grew up in Miami.  Known as the “business turn-around king,” he settles business deals with a hand-shake.  A billionaire who recently  turned 40, he stars in the hit CNBC show, The Profit,  where he puts his own money on the line to save struggling and failing businesses. Lemonis takes control of the business’s finances permanently and the operations long enough to get the business from intensive care deep into the profit zone.  He is all about getting things done and driving results through collaboration, partnerships, and relationships.

 I love to watch Marcus Lemonis at work.  And I admire  his method of judging businesses on the 3 P’s: people, process, and product.  The most important “P” is people:  the right people are effective while the wrong people are destructive. The second “P” looks at how organizations create, deliver, and sell their product.  The third P determines whether the product is not only excellent, but relevant. He stresses that for a business to be successful, it has to have at least 2 of the 3 P’s working in its favor.

As I watched several episodes of The Profit, it occurred to me that the 3 P’s might be a good measure of the Church.  Let’s take people first.  churchThe people in the church include the members of the congregation, the volunteer leadership team, and the staff.  They are to be “effective” but not “destructive.” What are effective people in a church like? Here’s my guess. They understand the mission and the values of the church.  They get things done in a timely fashion.  They work collaboratively as a team. They love the people they work with or for. They speak the truth – in love.  They view money as a resource not a power source. They look to Jesus as a model of how to lead a movement. What are destructive people like?  Privileged? Manipulative? Arrogant? Controlling? Selfish? Gossips?  Competitive? Rigid?

Secondly, let’s look at process.  How does the church deliver its product, the Gospel? Does it operate under good management principles?  This means sound financial practices. It requires good HR standards and enforcement, including hiring people with the personality, passion, and skills for the job opening (which Jim Collins famously  described as having the ‘right people in the right seats in the bus.”) It means collaboration between leaders; good communication within the staff and to members of the congregation; a solid plan to deliver its message to its “customers.” And it all needs to be undergirded by a loving spirit of fellowship and accountability.

Lastly, and most importantly for the Church, let’s look at the product.  What are we “selling?” Why do we want people to come through our doors?  What do we offer that people nechurch membersed? Is the God we teach about a “good and beautiful God” or an angry judge? Are we encouraging people become a Christ-followers or church members?Are we inviting people to live in the kingdom of God or to learn how to get to heaven? Are we promoting discipleship or an experience?  Do we model “having the mind of Christ” and  “serving the least of these” and  being “last not first” and “loving even those we don’t like?”  Are we offering authenticity and honest interaction? Is everyone truly welcome or are some only welcome if they don’t sit by us ?

Marcus Lemonis doesn’t expect a perfect business.  And I suspect God doesn’t expect a perfect church.  But I believe our churches could benefit from an honest discussion about people, process, and product and, more importantly,  from prayers that the Holy Spirit will help us save our struggling churches.

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