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A Healthy Alternative

Aug 14 2014

People often ask us at Hillsong Church how we do what we do, but in all honesty we’ve struggled to be able to articulate some of the things we’ve done intuitively for decades.

However in recent years as our church has grown to multiple campuses around Australia, it’s become more important to give expression to the nuts and bolts of how we do what we do as more and more leaders join us on the journey.

So after a lot of time trying to work this out we’ve stumbled on some things that we do regularly and intuitively and have been able to create clear systems for our staff.

Systems for every size Church
Many people’s view from the outside of Hillsong Church is from what they see on our annual album recording. As amazing as that experience is, our congregation’s experience week to week, can look very different.

In Australia, Hillsong Church is 11 Campuses (including 11 Extension Service locations) and a crazy 52 services across the whole weekend.

These locations range in size from 75 to over 10,000. We’ve created systems, policies and structures that work for every different size.

For Julia and I leading Hillsong Church in Australia, our heart is to help 1,000 churches grow, and so as we’ve developed these tools for our own team we want to make as much of it as possible available to churches within the Hillsong Leadership Network.

We want to make sure these tools and principles are transferable for every single church, of any size, anywhere in Australia.

What we want to bring to the table is not so much about numbers, but health indicators. There’s so much pressure and competition around size that is just not helpful, but what we should focus on is health.

What is Church growth?
Often a church is considered “growing” if it has more people in attendance than last year. But perhaps a church is only really growing if it’s growing its people. Are people taking next steps towards becoming like Christ?

Leaders mistakenly think that they grow new people, but actually you add new people to your church. Once you’ve added, then you connect, then you grow them, then you serve them, then you lead them.

We desire a church full of mature disciples that look like Jesus. It’s not just about numbers swelling, but are our people “swelling”.

Patterns from experience
Through analyzing Church history, comparing our growth patterns and speaking to leaders from around the world, we seem to have discovered specific indicators of health. Snapshots that can tell you accurately where you are currently at, and potentially predict where you are going.

The five health indicators we’ve identified we’ve called the “Dashboard”.

That’s because a dashboard is something you’re meant to glance at. You don’t drive down the road with a car manual on your lap, but you only pull it out when there’s something wrong with the car. However you do drive regularly glancing at your dashboard.

The Gauges
All the gauges work together to tell a story, and that story empowers you as a leader to make smart decisions.

Full Hillsong Leadership Network members are now also able to get access to this software for their own church, creating multiple campuses and different service times; to use this tool to lead their own team. However remember that the gauges are not meant to be a magic pill that will suddenly grow your church, but will hopefully be an integral tool to help you identify…

Where am I?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?

A dashboard that measures the health of the soul of your church allows you to ask specific questions with your team. Where a gauge is pointing is not necessarily right or wrong, but it is an indicator of health.

This is not designed to take the place of strategic planning, goal setting or your specific management style – whilst we all drive different cars, we’re unified by the fact that we all have a dashboard.

Senior Leaders Boot Camps
Once you are using the Dashboard we invite you to attend specific Boot Camps held in your state around Australia and New Zealand with other Senior Leaders, and we can start to help grow your church by aiming for changes that bring about health.

There’s also regular online “hangouts” at a state and national level where we can keep the discussion flowing and private online forums.

-Joel A’Bell
For more information about our next Senior Leaders Boot Camp, or to become a full member of the Hillsong Leadership Network Click Here