In Genesis 41, we find the somewhat familiar story known as Pharaoh’s Dream. One night, while Pharaoh is sleeping he began to dream. In his dream he saw seven fat cows grazing near the Nile River and then seven ugly and gaunt cows appear from the Nile and stand next to them. The seven gaunt cows then eat the seven fat cows. Pharaoh woke up, startled by what he just experienced, but sometime later he managed to fall back to sleep. He had a similar dream however this time its ears of corn instead of cows. These dreams troubled Pharaoh so he decided to do what most wise men would do during his time, he asked the magicians and wise men of Egypt to interpret his dream. They were as perplexed by the dream as Pharaoh.
Ultimately, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer spoke up and told him about a Jew that interpreted his dream while he was in prison. Pharaoh called for Joseph and he was able to interpret the dreams with the help of the Lord. The two different dreams were actually one in the same. The seven fat cows/corn represented seven years of abundance and those years would be followed by seven years of famine represented by the gaunt cows/corn. The famine was going to be so severe that the years of abundance would be forgotten in Egypt.
Then when Jospeh had finished interpreting the dream, he said:
“Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.”Exodus 41:33-36
Joseph laid out an entire strategy and plan for Pharaoh to ensure that they took full advantage of the warning sent to them by God. The strategy wasn’t seperate to the dream but it helped to make the dream worthwhile.
Think about it this way, Pharaoh was given a dream and the dream was even interpreted through the Supernatural but Egypt would have still been starving in seven years if systems were not put in place to ensure that the dream wasn’t for naught.
God may have given you a dream for your city, for your ministry and even for your personal life, but the dream is not going to be fulfilled on it’s own accord. It must be accompanied by systems so that you can maximise what God wants to do in you and through you.
Sometimes we can overlook the value of systems in our church/life because they don’t feel spiritual or they require work that is not within our personalty but God values systems. Just look at how He created this world. It is organised by systems, from the Universe all the way down to the human body.
Paul recognised this when he compared the church, the body of Christ, to the human body. He wrote to the church in Rome:
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.Romans 12:4-8
See how he highlights different individuals and their gifts, encouraging them to use those gifts to empower the body of Christ. I love that because everyone can have an impact in the Kingdom of God if they are given the ability to use their gift. Too often we limit the capability of every member being able to contribute because we are unable to find space for them to use their gifting in the current way that we do church.
That is where systems come in!
What is a system? According to Nelson Searcy, the author of The Eight Systems of a Healthy Church, “A system is an ongoing process that saves you stress, time, energy, and money and continues to produce results.” Systems do not have to be complicated, in fact you already have a number of systems in place for Sunday whether you realise it or not.
The goal of this blog post, and the series of posts to follow, is just to spark thought and encourage you to look at church from a different perspective.
So for example, a system that everyone has at their church – in varying degrees – is the Weekend Service System or the Worship Planning System. Over time you would have developed a process as to how you conduct your worship services. There are fixed service times and a structure that you follow. You have a few songs picked before service and a designated worship leader, singers & musicians. Typically there are announcements and an offering followed by preaching and likely an altar call.
According to the experts there are 7 or 8 different systems that every church should have. Today, I will only be listing the systems along with a brief description of each. In further posts we will be looking at each system and I will offer some questions/ideas to help you further develop your own system in your local church.
The Sunday Service System – How we plan, structure and execute our Sunday Service.
Evangelism System – The way we attract people to attend our church
Assimilation/Discipleship System – The process by which we take people from first-time guest to a disciple of Christ.
Volunteer System – How we get people involved in serving others
Giving System – How we develop and encourage giving
Leadership Development System – How we develop leaders within the church
Strategic System – The way we evaluate our systems for constant improvement and growth
God has given each of us a dream but it is up to us to make sure that we are doing our due diligence to maximise the opportunities we are given to make that dream a reality. I hope you’ll join me over the next few weeks as we explore how we can better serve God and others through the development of systems.