Tag Archives: disciples

The overcommitted church  by Thom Rainer

Many churches have become too busy for their own good.

They have so many activities, programs, events, and services that they are wearing out their congregations.

Here is the irony. Most of the activities in these churches began with a noble cause to make a difference in the congregation and the community. But the members became so busy they don’t have time to connect with people in a meaningful way.

Ineffective congregations 

The overcommitted church has become the ineffective church.

So, how did our churches get in this predicament? The causes are many, but here are seven of them:

  1. Our churches equate activity with value. Thus, busy churches are deemed to be churches of value. Not surprisingly, busy, exhausted, and frustrated church members are also deemed to be Christians of value.
  2. Programs and ministries became ends instead of means.I recently asked a pastor why he continued a ministry that had dwindled from 220 participants to 23. “Because,” he replied, “this program is a part of the history and heritage that defines our church.” Warning: If a program defines your church, your church is in trouble.
  3. Failure of churches to have a clear purpose.Even the best of churches can only do so many things well. Once a church has no clear and defining purpose, it has no reason to start or discontinue a program or ministry. That issue then leads to the next two reasons.
  4. Church leaders have failed to say “no.”Some church leaders can’t say “no” to new programs and ministries because they have no clear or defining purpose on what they should do. Other leaders simply lack courage to say “no.”
  5. Fear of eliminating.Once a program, ministry, or activity has begun, it can be exceedingly difficult to let it die. Sometimes leaders lack courage to kill programs. Sometimes they are blinded to the need to kill programs. Sometimes they hesitate to kill a program because they don’t know a better alternative. We need more churches in the program-killing business.
  6. Church is often defined as an address.As long as we think “church” means a physical location, we will try to load up that address with all kinds of busyness. Many churches are ineffective at reaching their communities because their members are so occupied doing things at the building they call the church. That’s both bad ecclesiology and bad missiology.
  7. Churches often try to compete with culture rather than reach culture.A church in the deep South had a dynamic basketball ministry, where they fielded community basketball teams comprised of church members and non-believers.

However, once the church built its own gym and recreation center, church members started spending all their time playing at their new facility. In attempting to have a gym as good as those in the community, the church ironically became less effective in reaching those in the community.

Busy churches. Activity-driven churches. Overcommitted churches. Ineffective churches.

In my next article, I will share some ways churches are becoming less activity-driven and more effective.

 

 

From Biblical leadership platform

Mindset is the Key

What do you do with the bricks thrown at you? Stepping Stones or Stumbling blocks. 

 Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.

“A successful person lays a FIRM FOUNDATION with the bricks others throw at her.” The quote summarizes the life of Sara Blakely. 

Billionaire CEO Sara Blakely Says These 7 Words Are the Best Career Advice She Ever GotSometimes the simplest things are the most profound.
Sara Blakely founded Spanx in her late 20s. The company made $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in its second year. In 2012, Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world.
She is clearly massively successful. Yet when asked what the best advice she ever received was, she doesn’t talk about success.
Instead, she talks about how, as a child, her father would sit her down at the dining room table and ask her the same question:

“What did you fail at this week?”

He didn’t want to know how many As she’d gotten. He wasn’t interested in how many girl scout cookies she’d sold, how many goals she’d scored on her soccer team, or whether she’d gotten a perfect score on her math test.

No, he wanted to know what she had failed at. And when she told him, do you know what his reaction was?

He high-fived her.

Think about that for a minute: Every week growing up, her father made her reflect on something she’d failed at, then showed her that not only was she still loved after failing, but she was celebrated for it.

In an interview for Fortune, Blakely said, “I didn’t realize at the time how much this advice would define not only my future, but my definition of failure. I have realized as an entrepreneur that so many people don’t pursue their idea because they were scared or afraid of what could happen. My dad taught me that failing simply just leads you to the next great thing.”

Speaking of that, Blakely herself failed the LSATs twice before founding Spanx. On that particular chapter of her life, she says, “It was one of many tests that showed me how some of the biggest failures in our lives just nudge us into another path.”

Those who’ve made it big repeat that one of the main reasons they got to where they are is by taking risks. Over and over, they talk about the importance of taking leaps, which sometimes means falling down:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” –Robert F. Kennedy

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” –Winston Churchill

“Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” –Oprah

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas Edison

Yet, for as many times as we are told that taking risks is good and failing is OK, we tend to shy away from it in our own lives. Why? Probably because we grew up in schools that tended to only reward “success” (getting the answer right). We were trained to become perfectionists.

If you’re going to rewrite that script, it’s not going to be by convincing yourself of it intellectually. It’s going to be by actually doing things you’re not sure of or good at, then being proud of yourself for failing. It’s not just the failing that’ll help you get there–it’s the encouragement for trying in the first place.

So: What have you failed at this week?

If you can’t think of anything, go find something to suck at. If you can, give yourself a high-five.

Then go fail at something else.

Resurrection comes after a death. Success is embedded in failure. You may fail at it but you not a failure until you stop at it. 

Article first appeared at Inc.com