by | Sep 17, 2019 | Church Growth | 0 comments

In this series on the Emotionally Healthy Church, we’re discussing the two main personality types of churches and their leadership. Last week we talked about High Emotional Intelligence churches. Today, we’re talking about its counterpart, the Institutionally Intelligent Church.

Institutional Intelligence is just a fancy way of saying that these churches are strong in order and systems.  High Institutional Intelligence creates organization structures that are highly effective at accomplishing tasks.  When leaders have a strong Institutional IQ, they are more likely to preach sermons that are highly instructive and exegetical but with fewer connection points for the congregation.  High Institutional IQ  pastors often make great instructors, but struggle with the shepherding part of the role.  These are the churches that argue about using Roberts Rules of Order in meetings, and, as you might imagine, give off a strong “institutional” vibe. High Institutional IQ churches can have difficulty building genuine community and as a result, are usually more 90/10 in their congregational engagement because the work is delegated to a committee or group instead of expecting buy-in from the congregation as a whole. This isn’t to say that having a high Institutional IQ is bad. On the contrary, smaller churches that are experiencing quick growth may find that they have a low Institutional IQ that actually hinders their ability to scale up their ministries and sustain that growth. Because we live in such a highly-structured world, we need to have systems in place that look to the future and make serving accessible for members of the congregation.

It’s been my experience that churches that have a high Emotional IQ have that intelligence at the expense of Institutional IQ and vice-versa.  Unless churches are of a size and financial position to have an Executive or Administrative Co-Pastor, you rarely find an equilibrium between the two IQs (which is why that’s more often found in larger churches).  That being said, Emotional IQ is harder to achieve than Institutional IQ because it’s not something that can necessarily be taught, and certainly not easily. High Emotional IQ churches can go longer with institutional deficiencies because the relationships that are built in those churches cover the multitude of organizational “sins.” That doesn’t mean, of course, that the imbalance is sustainable over the long term.  At some point, low Institutional IQ will inhibit growth and needs to be addressed.

Next time we’ll be talking about one aspect of the Emotionally Healthy church that will make an impact for generations to come, as well as some of the pitfalls that can stop the high Emotional IQ church dead in its tracks. Check it out here.

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