Two Things To Change Next Year in Your Church

Pastor, start doing this…now!

Pastor, start doing this…now!

I’m old and I’ve been a pastor for a long time. If I had it to do over again I would determine to make two changes at the beginning of every year. I’d spend the entire month of December determining the details of the changes, but everyone would know the two categories and they would know the changes were coming.

And the first week of January I’d announce it from the pulpit.

The first announcement would deal with whatever controversy or tension that’s been divisive over the past year. I would say graciously but firmly, “Here’s what we’ve decided. We know that some of you are unhappy with the decision, but we’re asking you to move forward together.”

There’s a word for the fruitless search of trying to do things while making everyone happy: politics.

I’ve wasted too much time and energy trying to finesse a decision concerning music, scheduling, or priorities while trying to keep entitled Christians happy. If loving one another means anything it means to submit personal preferences to the needs of the body.

It’s tempting to think that there’s a perfect decision that will keep unhealthy and immature believers from causing problems, and apologizing as we do.

But it’s a death spiral. Don’t politic, lead.

The second announcement would let everyone know what ministry we’re dropping in the coming year. Again, I would say graciously but firmly, “We’re too busy. If all we do is add, add, add, we’re never going to see the new possibilities God is bringing our way. Therefore, we’ve decided to drop this program, event, committee from our calendar.”

Jesus never said, “Go, and put together a lot of activities and programs.” In my experience the busyness of believers at church is one of the greatest barriers to effective neighborhood ministry and disciplemaking.

One of the primary maxims of leadership is that less is more, if the less focuses on the vital.

If I had it to do over again, that’s what I’d do. Every year I’d make two changes. We’d settle one controversy challenging believers to love one another and drop one item from the calendar to make room for disciplemaking.