by dan grider
Most churches are wearing out their leaders and congregations.
In most cases the activities in these churches were started with a worthy cause to make a difference in the congregation and the community. But the members became so overwhelmed they don’t have time to connect with people in a meaningful way.
When most church members serve at an outreach event, they simply want to meet an obligation, support their church, and survive the event. Most Church members report that they feel overwhelmed, and over worked. They fell that they are doing well just to survive most church events.
If survival is the goal for most church members, they probably will not be very effective at engaging a lost culture at the outreach event. Most church members say that they feel an obligation to their pastor and their church to support the events that the local church puts on. They inherently know that they are overcommitted, and that their church has become an ineffective church. This can be a trap that new church plants fall into.
Most churches don’t have a plan in place to train their leaders to engage a lost world. As a result the activities their church puts on are often completely value-less to the anyone.
If the church had a discipleship multiplication culture in place the event could become a vehicle for spiritual conversations. Outreach events could assist a trained disciple-maker to identify discipleable individuals from the community. If that were the case the event could have mission value.
The answer to this cycle of madness is to become less activity-driven and more effective. Launch a clearly defined discipleship multiplication culture. For more information click on the training tab on the IgniteDiscipleship.com website. The Ignite one and two training will assist you to launch a multiplication culture in your church.
Without a group of trained disciple-makers in place who are looking to find disciple-able people, most churches will create mission-less busy work for most church attenders. The pastors who recruit volunteers to put on these events are often desperately hoping that they can attract some new blood to the church to assist them to put on more mission-less events. This pattern is certain to wear out the most dedicated pastor and church member. So how did churches get in this predicament? The causes are many. Thom Rainer lists seven of them:
Seven Reasons Churches Pursue Meaningless Activity
1 Our churches equate activity with value. Thus busy churches are deemed to be churches of value. And busy, exhausted, and frustrated church members are deemed to be Christians of value.
2 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. Others leaders simply lack courage to say “no.”
3 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 participants. “Because,” he said, “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.
4 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.
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 busy 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 plant used basketball to reach their community. They established basketball teams comprised of church members and non-believers. But once the church built its own gym and recreation center, the church members started spending all their time playing at their new facility. In an attempt to have a gym as good as those in the community, the church ironically became less effective reaching those in the community.