What is the Church Organization Structure?

Church Organization Structure

A church goes beyond Sundays and mid-week services. A church like every other organization needs a structure in place to be able to operate properly. And as the church grows in size, so will the church structure take another form in order to accommodate the changes in size. 

It is a system of operations in a church that illustrates how each department or unit in the church works together as a whole. 

It points out the functions of each department or unit for effective administration. It also points out who each of the departments or units reports to within the church organization. 

It points out who the main leader is within the church organization. Likewise, It also allocates duties according to departmental function. The central focus of the church organization structure is to build a church structure. 

It is best illustrated with a chart. Drawing up the organizational structure chart of the church is a systematic way of visually representing the relationship between the units or departments by using graphics. 

The church organization structure chart, or map, shows the line of hierarchy as the authority and responsibilities are delegated from the top of the hierarchy to the lower part of the hierarchy.

Different Types of Church Organization Structure Charts

Church Hierarchical Organization Structure Charts

In church hierarchy organization structure charts, the church departments or units are ranked so that all departments or units in the church, except the topmost department or unit, are subordinate to the specified department or unit above it. 

How Does Church Hierarchy Organization Structure work?

The structure is suitable for a very big church organization with different layers of administration. The different layers of administration are connected together by a chain of command.                     

Furthermore, decision-making is done from the top of the hierarchy down the layers of administration. In the same way, authority is delegated from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom of the hierarchy. 

The Church hierarchy organization structure is a pyramid. The layers of administration widen as it goes down to the bottom of the pyramid. The functions of each layer of administration are also clearly defined. 


It has many advantages, especially to Churches that have grown bigger. 

  • Church hierarchy organization structure helps to discourage false teaching and doctrine. The teachings and doctrine of the Church organization are followed strictly by the Church members. 
  • The structure does not give room for rebellion. It helps to maintain the unity of the Church members. The reason is that when the Church leaders agree on a thing, the Church as a whole agree as well.   
  • It helps to build a strong and unbreakable Church organization. 
  • It facilitates specialization and expertise in the departments. It helps Church workers to become knowledgeable in different areas of the Church departments. 


The following are the disadvantages of the Church hierarchy organization structure: 

  • Church members can easily lose focus, once the leaders make mistakes. Since it is the leaders that make decisions for the Church, they are liable to lead the Church astray. 
  • Major attention is focused on the Church leader.
  • The Church members can feel slightly engaged and involved in the Church direction and focus. 

Church Functional Organization Structure Charts 

The Church functional organization structure charts feature a situation where an organization is divided into functional units or departments. 

The Church functional organization structure chart exhibits a structure based on the departments that each person or persons belong to in the Church.  

Dividing a Church into departments or functional units enables large Churches to be manageable. Each of the functional units is managed by someone who is knowledgeable in the function of the department. 

It becomes easier to delegate tasks and responsibilities among the functional units. All the functional units are wholly working to achieve the Church goal. 

Churches are traditionally subdivided into the following functional units: 

  • Choir department, 
  • Children department, 
  • Sunday school department, 
  • House fellowship department, 
  • Welfare department and others as the needs arise in the Church. 

How Does Church Functional Organization Structure work?

The whole tasks or functions of the Church are divided into functional units or departments.

Head Of Department, (HOD) is in charge of the department or functional unit. The functional units perform specialized functions. For instance, the Choir department specializes in music. 

Instructions and information are passed down from the HOD to the members and staff of the department. 

The HOD exercises delegated authority to the department and its members. All functional units are working in collaboration to complement the work of one another for the growth of the Church. 

The functional unit members report directly to the Head of Department. While the Head of Department reports to the Pastor or the Church leader. 


Church functional organization structure has the following advantages: 

  • There is a room for specialization. Members of each functional unit become specialized in what they do. 
  • Efficiency comes with specialization. Members of each of the functional units become effective and efficient in their work. Thus, the Church as a whole experiences an increase in efficiency.
  • The structure enables the Church to grow. And it also creates an avenue for the Church members to grow.
  • It encourages collective control and supervision of the Church. And therefore, gives Church members a sense of belonging. 
  • It boosts the general and individuals’ morale in the Church. Everyone becomes a participant in the growth of the Church. 
  • It relieves the Church leader of responsibilities that can be delegated to others. 


Here are the disadvantages of Church functional organization structure: 

  • Functional unit members give more importance to their department. It creates work conflicts and duties overlap. 
  • Whenever there is a lag, or a low performance, the functional unit leaders would start blaming others. 
  • It sometimes leads to rivalry among the functional units. For example, the ushering department and Protocol department are trying to overdo themselves. 

Church Cross-functional Organization Structure Charts

In Church cross-functional organization structure charts, it features Church organizations that are structured in a way that several functional departments or units can be combined into a unit or department. 

These Church cross-functional units or departments are usually multipurpose and project-based. They comprise professionals from other functional units or departments, who are working together purposely for a particular Church project. 

This structure gives the Pastor time to concentrate on his or her pastoral duties. While allowing the departmental heads to deal with the issues in the department without consulting the pastorate.  

How Does Church Cross-Functional Organization Structure work?

A Church cross-functional organization structure works by bringing in professionals from other departments to work together for a Church project. 

For instance, a professional from the Sunday School department, House-Fellowship department, Welfare, and Evangelism departments can come together for a common goal.


Church cross-functional organization structure is a hybrid or an improved version of Functional organization structure. 

  • It improves the harmonization of different departmental activities in the Church.
  • It helps to optimize the Church departments for optimal growth.
  • Furthermore, it brings quicker results and effectiveness in Church operation. 
  • Interaction of the cross-functional departmental members create a tremendous impact than the total impacts of each member working alone. It, therefore, leads to a high degree of creativity.
  • It helps to boost creativity and efficiency of solving problems because of the composition of the cross-functional departments. 
  • The diverse composition of the cross-functional departments help develop synergy of ideas and widen members’ perspectives. 


Church Cross-functional organization structure has disadvantages as well. 

  • Cross-functional departments take time to develop cohesion among the members. This happens because of the different departments that the members come from, and different in the member’s experience. 
  • Members of the Cross-functional department experience conflict due to departmental rivalry. The conflict often resulted from conflict of interest between members from different departments. 


Church organization structure charts are a helpful tool in developing church organization structures. These are the benefits that can be derived from the church organization chart: 

  • It helps to visualize the best structure for the church.
  • It enables the visualization of the department structure.
  • Likewise, It helps to know who the units or departments are to directly report to. 
  • Leaders can quickly detect any defect in the department structure.
  • It creates efficiency in departmental duties. 
  • Furthermore, it clearly defines the reporting path and structure. 
  • It clearly explains who the subordinate departments are to report to.  
  • It helps to plan individual promotions. 
  • It helps to review church performance and development.
  • It helps the team and individuals in the church to perform their duties very well. 
  • It helps to improve on church goals and initiatives. 

Who to Include in Church Organization Structure Chart?

Church organization structure charts visually display the whole church organization structure in a graphical form. 

Basically, a church organization structure chart features divisions and subdivisions that exist in the church. It also features the flow of authority within the organization. 

Therefore, the chart should include the following people: 

  • Leaders 
  • Volunteers 
  • Employees 
  • Ministers
  • Departmental members

These are the people working in the units or departments, or contributing their efforts to the goal of the departments or units. 

These people’s contributions as it relates to and complement the efforts of others in the church needs to be drawn in the church organization structure chart. 

15 Advantages

There are several advantages of having an organizational structure in a church, fifteen of which are listed here:

  1. It helps to formulate the operation strategy of the church. 
  2. It helps the church to have a goal and establish ways to achieve the goal. 
  3. It provides direction to church workers and employees by laying out their functions and responsibilities. 
  4. It provides guidance to official relationships between church departments or units. 
  5. It makes it easier to know who to officially report to in the church organization hierarchy.
  6. It makes it easier to add new departments, and positions to the church organization structure. 
  7. It provides a means for church sustainable growth. 
  8. It helps the church to run effectively and efficiently. 
  9. It helps to know who has the final authority and responsibility. 
  10. It allows for the creation of church workers and employee promotion.
  11. It helps to know who is officially accountable for a particular task. 
  12. It provides guidance to church workers and employees.
  13. It brings clearance to the flow of reports at all levels of the church.
  14. It boosts the effectiveness and productivity of the church workers and employees. 
  15. It removes confusion of duties at all levels of the church. 


Church organization structure has some certain elements which are very essential to the growth of the Church. The following are the elements of Church Organization. 

  • Departmentalization

It is the element that refers to the way the Church organization is broken down into units or departments for easy administration. 

  • Chain of Authority or Command

It is an element that clearly defines the reporting channel for effectiveness and productivity. It shows the members of a department who they are to report to. 

  • Span of Control

This is another element that defines the number of workers or staff that each of the Heads of Department are accountable for within the Church.

  • Centralization Decentralization

Centralization refers to a structure in which authority in the Church organization is centralized. The departments in the Church report to a centralized leadership. Decisions are made by the centralized leader for the departments. 

Decentralization refers to a structure in which authority in the Church organization is decentralized. Departments can make decisions without consulting a centralized leader. 

  • Work Specialization

This element ensures that all departments have a description of their roles and responsibilities. It helps to ensure that there is no duplication of roles. 

  • Degree of Formalization

This element ensures that a Church organization has at least a level of form or a level of structure. It specifies the Church’s procedure and regulations which are acquired by the Departments in the Church.   


Creating a Church organization structure is key to the growth and success of the Church. It enables the Church to have a clear objective. 

Before deciding on which structure to use, Church leaders need to consider a lot of factors. For instance, the size of the Church, the goal of the Church, etc. need to be considered. 

Frequently Asked Questions. 

What are the 5 purposes of a church? 

According to Rick Warren in his book: Purpose-driven Church. The 5 purposes of the Church are Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Mission. These are according to Matthew 22:37-40 (Great Commandment), and Matthew 28: 19-20 (Great Commission).

How important is the Church? 

The Church plays an important role in society, especially in assisting Christians to do the work of rendering help to those who are in need. 

The Church serves as the hands of God in meeting the spiritual needs of the people. And it renders support, comfort, and guidance to people. 

What Is The Best Church Organizational Structure?

Having a Church organization structure depends on the nature of the Church and its size. Thus, we can not say there is the best Church organization structure.

What is the Church Organization Structure?

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