Thinking Like a Great Small Church (Seminar) – Part 5
Here is the next section–and the second practical suggestion–for helping you think like a great small church. Feel free to follow the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. While the last section dealt with the importance of understanding your church’s values, adopting a mission, and casting a vision, this section has to do with busyness and the need to evaluate what your church is doing and why it is doing those things. Please feel free to comment below.
One In; One Out
While I have lived in a pretty big city, I have never lived in a truly large, urban area. I have watched enough real estate and remodel shows on HGTV to know the homes, especially apartments, are small—really small. I have been told that because of this situation, many people choose to follow a simple rule: When you buy something new, you get rid of something old. When you buy a new pair of pants, before you put them in your closet you have to get out (ideally) your oldest pair of pants. In addition to making sure you have enough room for all your belongings, there is the added benefit of keeping your wardrobe fresh and up to date.
What if we took the same approach with the ministries and activities in our local churches? What if we made it our policy that we do not add a new ministry or regular activity unless we evaluate what we are currently doing and choose to let one go? Church is complicated, probably too much so. I think church should be simpler—especially smaller churches. We usually do not have the financial resources, facilities, or manpower to conduct large numbers of ministries.
Adopting this mindset will help make one of the most difficult transitions an existing church needs to make. We need to move from a destination mindset to a process mentality. When most of our churches were started, whether 20 or 120 years ago, a way of doing church was established and has likely not changed much. It is as if the church has reached her destination. This at least partially explains why it is so difficult for churches to adapt and begin to decline as their communities change. We need to realize that if we drop less effective ministries and programs as we add new ones, the local church will continually be revitalized.
We do not need to change for the sake of change, but we have to be willing to change if we need to. Developing a process mentality will allow us to honestly evaluate our structure, programs, and ministries. Our culture and communities change so fast. If you do not evaluate the operations of your church at least as often as Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, you are running behind. That doesn’t mean you have to change that often, but you do need to evaluate.