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Topic Title: Lean in church
Topic Summary: Examples of lean projects in non-profits or churches
Created On: 03/20/2009 04:06 PM
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03/20/2009 04:09 PM
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GGCroucher
Gwen Croucher



I am familiam with lean office but would like to hear from some that have worked specifically with churches
03/23/2009 08:50 AM
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3744
Ronald Turkett



VSM works for any process in administration areas. The first process reviewed in a church we attended was serving communion for 600 people per service. The preparation time was cut 50% and the serving time by 20%.

Ron Turkett
03/23/2009 08:51 AM
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40183
Lonnie Wilson



Hello Gwen,

In my consulting practice I do a lot of probono consulting to churches and non-profits and so, as you might expect, have a few thougthts.

First, in what I call the "Business of Church", such as taking the offering, planning the years work of outreaches, and funding the daily, weekly, monthly activities, there is a lot in process management that lean will assist in.... but it is really nothing new compared to basic process management tools that have been around a long time, but quite frankly form the foundation for lean improvements.

However, in the bigger picture, waste is about saving waste and church is about saving souls...... I suspect they might require a different approach, although I am open for discussion on this.

Certainly Toyota's long term view is something they might share with a church... there might be others but I think if you take a quick look at the goals of the two, you will quickly see they diverge.

It is hard to discuss this topic in this forum due to the explosive nature of religious discussions but i would be more than glad to discuss this further off line, just call 915.584.9228 or email

Good luck Gwen, I am sure I will stay abreast of this thread

Lonnie Wilson
law@qc-ep.com
03/24/2009 10:27 AM
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KeithL
Keith Lodahl



In my pre-Lean days I did some strategic planning with churches and had some good results. I can see the right congregation benefitting from Hoshin Kanri. Also some processes involved with the administrative tasks could be subject to Lean.

I have observed many folks that aren't clergy but extremely active or employed by churches becoming involved in tasks that are best described as ministry. I guess I would be at a loss to decide which parts of these tasks would be muda. At least a part of many of these interactions are interpersonal contact, and may not add to the task's rapid completion. But some tasks are not to be completed quickly, and the people time is sometimes the most important component.

An interesting question, and a thread worth watching.
03/27/2009 08:45 AM
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John_Stevenson
John Stevenson



There are many opportunities for lean improvements in functions at your local church. However, they may be more obvious in a larger church. And as a preface, improvements should be balanced with an overall desire to create environments that are part of your church's culture. Here are some potentials:

People flow. For churches with multiple services, discovering most efficient method to reduce congestions and ease the people transisition between services. Likewise, the flow of people at church meals.

Room setup time. We must convert an all chair choir area to accommodate full band in less than 15 minutes. Mulitple use rooms need setup changes which may include audio/video, tables, and chairs.

Traffic flow. Downtown church with little parking creates traffice bottlenecks, parking efficiency challenges, and safety concerns.

Kanban. Children's ministry supplies, office supplies, and kitchen pantry.

5S. Classrooms, particularly children's. Visual management helps teachers, especially first timers, know where all the supplies are stored.

Cycle time. Reports delivered to various committees such as finance, membership, and trustees. Posting, entry, and reporting of financial offering, including end of year charitable contribution reports.

As you suggest or implement improvements, apply a heavy dose of change management. Church staff are typically not aware of the potential benefits and are reluctant to change an entrenched process.
03/27/2009 12:57 PM
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27764
Don Pope



Several of us are interested in lean at church. Please reference this paper as a starting place -
http://www.christianitytoday.c...sue10-leanchurch.html

Let's continue to share with each other and us your ideas, either through postings here or my email address at Abilene Christian University, don.pope@coba.acu.edu. Note that Dr. Andrew Parris is now at this email address: Andrew_Parris@wvi.org
03/27/2009 02:39 PM
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Brian Collyer



Interesting topic,

My wife and I attend a large church in Gulf Breeze Fl. We are involve with the youth ministry grades 6, 7, and 8th respectively and while we were not officially asked to map processes for improvement, I can never quite take off my VSM or TOC "hat" wherever flows are involved, be it people, processes or materials or a combinations of all.

For example, attendance or checking kids in is a big deal for ministry reasons as well as child safety. We developed a system working with the church membership software to pre print nametags eliminating time wasting bottlenecks at doorways and hallway backups.

Leaders could quickly and "visually" identify which kids were not present by unconsumed labels. The time wasting weak link of relying on junior high students to check themselves in was eliminated, replaced by a visual system. The only other variable was the kids that were truly visitors. But this was easily handled because designated leader(s) were assigned to write a hand written nametag for them. This was by design to get to know the kids and collect contact information.

But be careful, not all church staff has had to be motivated by market forces and the need to eliminate waste. So resistance may ensue.
03/30/2009 09:22 AM
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MarkG
Mark Greenhouse



Hi Gwen,

I was sent this a few months ago

Lean in Chruch which I have shared with elders at my church in the UK. we are looking at how we can revamp the space we have.

A church which is empty for most of the time & a church hall which again is empty most of the time and neither is used at the same time, that is our first lean challenge. Turning the church into a space that can be used for all the hall events and more whilst meeting the needs of the customer (the local community) and releasing the space and investment taken up by the hall, is the first step on a customer orientated journey.

Good luck

Mark
03/31/2009 02:31 PM
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andrewparris
Andrew Parris



Dear Friends,

as Don Pope indicated, I now work at World Vision International, to bring a process perspective to their work. I find the principles and practices of Lean (and Six Sigma and TOC) just as applicable here in a Christian nonprofit as I did in my former work with Lockheed Martin on the Atlas rocket program. And they are needed just as much or more, because of the creative nature of the people who tend to work in nonprofits and the variety of situations they encounter.

I also find application of Lean principles to the Christian life: "...find out what pleases the Lord." Ephesians 5:10. Defining customer value.

Hebrews (12:1) instructs: "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Eliminate waste.

Don Pope highlighted in our article: "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (Amos 5:24) Make it flow.

Proverbs 3:27-28 and other passages instruct believers to respond to customer needs. Pull (and the Holy Spirit prompts us here, Romans 8:14).

Finally, in many passages (Eph. 4:14-16, 2 Peter 1:3-11) we are encouraged to grow, which aligns well with Continuous Improvement.

So, I see a strong alignment between Lean and Christian values and principles.

Blessings,
Andrew
04/03/2009 01:16 PM
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34657
Andy Rogish



Gwen,
I worked part time for one year at a mega church. Here are some of my observations of how Lean Thinking can help in church as follows:
    Hoshin planning
    Value Stream Management
    Plan for Every Person (PFEP)
    Production oriented Lean tools


HOSHIN PLANNING
Lean works quite well in church, especially when you correctly define your customer, especially when Lord is the final customer..
There are a couple of books that stumble upon a Lean approach in church that I found quite helpful. One is "Simple Church" by Rainer & Geiger. It makes the case for Hoshin planning in church, though not by name.
Without a unified strategy deployment, the resultant waste will manifest as the staff competiting for resources, and putting members/regular attenders in the position of having to choose between supporting divergent initiatives and activities in the church. Which will help facilitate division in the church.
The other book is "Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry." Every church has strategy, stated, assumed, or otherwise. This book has some good approaches for drawing out those unstated premesis to create a 'true north' for Hoshin.

VALUE STREAM MANAGEMENT
As with any organization, department, or in this case- ministry, ministries become siloed. Siloed in terms of functioning with their internal partners, or other departments, within the church.
For example, in one training event for teachers, attendees were affected by 3 ministry groups: Childcare, Food Ministry, & Education Ministry. Total attendees ran about 700. Childcare was not ready to absorb and maintain about 100 children within 15 minutes. The Food Ministry was not able to process 700 people in 20 minutes. This caused the meal time to overlap into Education ministry's training time by 40 minutes. There were about 75 frustrated parents who had to wait in line to drop their children off, then had to wait in line for food, then experience a training session that went overtime, then wait in line to pick their children up again, and be unintentinally pressured by the person in charge of children- that they should not be late in picking up their children as the church will incurr overtime costs.
Every ministry was able to say 'I did what I was supposed to do', but no one was watching across all those ministry processes to measure the impact and unintended concequences on attendees.

PFEP
The Church is largest volunteer organization in the world, but often doesn't make a Plan for Every Person (PFEP.) Volunteers often make tremendous sacrifice in terms of time, that can casue difficulties in their personal lives and in their famalies. By creating Standard Work in minsitry processes, waste that volunteers experience can be reduced to make their time more focused and rewarding. For example, craft preparation & delivery for elementary Sunday School Teachers, standard packets prepared for Greeters, current maps and information on events at the information desk, etc...
And ensuring there was a training and development plan for staff members was critical. For example, one staff member required a large number of volunteers for data entry. When the staff person learned how to use spreadsheet pivot tables, significantly fewer data entry volunteers.

LEAN PRODUCTION TOOLS (TPS)
In a planned prayer walk, we had to move two thousand people through a circuit within 2 hours. Batch size (class size) varied from 300 to 20. Some of the batches had a slower processing time (seniors who moved slower). We set up a takt time, then look at doorways as constraints. Could they allow enough people to pass in order to support takt? Standard Work instructions were released to each class, departure times were staggered to allow for people flow, color coding indicated the type of work to be done at each station (prayer stations), etc....
04/07/2009 10:53 AM
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169470
Charles Duffert



Greetings...an acquaintance of mine directed me to this forum and asked that I make a post.

A friend of mine and I are finishing up a book on Lean Ministry. But it's taking a more comprehensive view than the business of church operation or administration. It's looking at God's values and the process (value stream) that provides those values. It examines what consitutes waste in ministry from a theological point-of-view and how might we minimize those wastes to be more effective at reaching the lost. It examines the spiritual DNA common to all disciples called to be transformed and more Christ-like. It also looks at the applications of "flow" and "pull" in the context of God's values and the role of the established Church. There is a lengthy discussion on the subject of the kaizen culture of continuous improvement, which is so sorely lacking in the established Church.

In the very near future we'll have a website up with the name Lean Ministry something or other. We'll post that here when it happens.

In the meantime, My partner, Tom Nebel, and I welcome any and all responses or suggestions.

r to all,
Charles Duffert
04/07/2009 11:31 AM
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169470
Charles Duffert



All...a follow-up to my post, above.

I neglected to mention the name of the acquaintance that directed me here. That gentleman is Andy Parris who posted above. Andy is kind enough to be part of the kaizen process for the development of the book, along with Don Pope, Kent Smith and a number of other people.

Sorry for not mentioning your name in the first post, Andy.

r to all,
Charles Duffert
04/10/2009 12:04 PM
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theleanway
Frank Magoba



Charles,

Keep me posted as soon as you finish the book. I would like to share it with my pastor.

thanks,

-Frank
04/15/2009 09:10 AM
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189238
William Davidson



I cant wait to see your web site on lean ministry! as someone who works with lean in my employment i always wondered how to make lean work in the church!
04/15/2009 09:10 AM
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169470
Charles Duffert



Frank...will post information here and on the leanministrysomethingorother website when that gets set up. We're probably 2/3rds of the way through the book right now. The intent was to get it to the publisher by the end of April--but...

Thanks for your interest.

Chas.
04/15/2009 09:10 AM
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189238
William Davidson



Ron what exactly did you do to cut down on the time in prep and serving?

Thanks, Bill
04/15/2009 01:07 PM
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169470
Charles Duffert



Bill...thanks for the kind comments. I talked to my partner yesterday and we've agreed to go ahead with the website. Will have it up and running sometime in the next few days. As someone who grew up milking cows by hand, I may have a little trouble with the "building" part, so it will be a work-in-progress for awhile. One of the features we MUST have is a blog / forum / discussion thread ability so glean input from other lean practicioners. We're a little surprised at the amount of interest this has generated in the short time we've been at it.

Will be in touch.

r/y,
Chas.
04/17/2009 01:32 PM
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lisathompson
Lisa Thompson



i am interested of what comes of this as well! The Church is definitely a unique organization where some 'wastes' are necessary. even more important is making me most of her resources to make the biggest impact with the what you have.

please keep us updated!
04/29/2009 09:47 AM
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DanieNZ
Danie Vermeulen



Hi Chas and everyone else interested in Lean in Church.

I'm based in New Zealand and full time consulting and training in Lean / Kaizen.
I'm actively involved in our church (3 campuses around Auckland) - we also run a Christian School. We are embarking on some lean initiatives - I'm certainly keen to be part of future discussions.

Please let me know once the website is up and running.

Bless you
Danie Vermeulen
04/30/2009 12:27 PM
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KNash
Karen Nash



Hi to all!
I'm thrilled to find this forum and thread. I'm a Vestry officer for a historic New England Episcopal church which has taken a beating from failures to perceive, understand, and positively adapt to change (short-term rectors, discouraged parishioners, declining membership, depleted endowment).
Knowing that we must change for the better or cease to exist, we have recently embarked on a trio of initiatives that are being adopted with growing enthusiasm by the parish, and we've started to see an encouraging trickle of returnees and new members. In Vestry meetings, I've seen more and more areas where I can contribute my Lean know-how to improving our processes. Currently I'm working with the finance committee on their budgeting, and with the search committee for the minister of music on their requirements and selection processes. The parish seems committed to true improvement, rather than bandaids, has moved out of the Fear stage, and is now making the transition from Curiosity to Enthusiasm.
I will eagerly look forward to new posts in this forum - thanks to all for your valuable input!

Blessings,
Karen Nash
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