I never imagined that lean principles could be combined with religious principles. But two men in
Their goal is to achieve spiritual transformation and continuous spiritual improvement. And yes, they really are applying lean principles to achieve that goal.
One of the two is Charles Duffert, a retired Naval officer and business executive who currently teaches lean and six sigma methodologies at a junior college. The other is Dr. Tom Nebel, Director of Church Multiplication and Leadership Teams for Converge Worldwide, the new misional name of the Baptist General Conference.
If the goal of a lean manufacturer is to focus on creating value for customers, Duffert and Nebel suggest that the goal of a lean church is to focus its resources on the transformation of its people.
They describe other attributes of a lean church, and even give examples of the seven types of waste in church operations. Some of these are:
Overproduction: Teaching or preaching to large batches of disciples at the same time under the assumption that they are all in need of the same message and are all at the same place on the timeline of the transformation process.
Overprocessing: Separating the congregation into batches by age or gender and placing them in classes with the assumption that God transforms people by age and gender. Also, music, instruments, worship teams, choirs and other productions having more entertainment value than impact on the transformation process.
I have always supported the idea that lean principles can be applied to just about any organization. Duffert and Nebel are embracing that concept to give churches focus in defining and achieving their mission. While my own religious beliefs may be different from theirs, I wish them well.