3 signs your church is too busy
By Deborah Wipf

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Reaching people for Christ is our main mission in ministry, and most churches use a variety of methods to attract a diverse audience. That makes sense, yet if we're not careful, this can lead to a scattered approach that drains your people and church finances. Then, once a program or event is in place, it becomes part of the routine regardless of whether it attracts people or produces the desired results.

INDUSTRY PULSE

Is your church too busy?
  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No

From a lack of defining goals to not measuring effectiveness or just plain not wanting to rock the boat, we can quickly fall into the trap of mistaking abundant activity for actual fruit.

Here are a few ways to tell if your church is too busy — and how to combat the problem.

1. The church event calendar is packed solid

A full schedule of events isn't sustainable for your staff, volunteers or congregation. Even God took a day off to rest, and He didn't really need to (I'm inclined to think He was trying to make a point).

If your team can't remember why you're doing a certain event, ask some pointed questions to help you decide if that event should continue:
  • Who is this intended to reach, and does it actually accomplish that objective?
  • How are we measuring success?
  • Would anyone really miss it?
2. Back-to-back meetings are the norm

Constant meetings usually indicate a few issues:
  • There are too many activities going on at once (see Sign No. 1).
  • Meetings are ineffective, which leads to additional follow-up sessions.
  • The team has poor communication and follow-through practices.
Consider the following before scheduling a meeting:
  • What is the desired outcome of this meeting?
  • Who absolutely needs to attend?
  • What decisions should result from this meeting?
  • Can we accomplish the same thing over a quick email?
3. You don't take a full day off unless you're on vacation

You love ministry and are dedicated to your church. That's admirable and appreciated. It can also become unhealthy and destructive if you're constantly working. I've seen churches where most of the staff will come in for at least a few hours on their days off to get some work done. That's usually an indicator of:
  • Inefficient systems and processes
  • Too many activities going on at once (Again, see Sign No. 1)
  • Not enough "hands on deck" to get the work done — a sign that you need to hire more staff or get more volunteers involved
We all require rest — working in ministry doesn't exempt us from that reality. Yes, God grants us strength and endurance to accomplish great things. He also set the example by taking a day off. Taking a full day each week to rest is an excellent way to recharge. While we're no longer under the law, a Sabbath day's rest (regardless of which day you take it) still makes sense from a spiritual, emotional and physical perspective.

We know from Luke 6:44 that, "For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush." A multitude of events, activities and outreaches doesn't necessarily mean you have a healthy tree (church).

Stop and examine the fruit that results from each event, activity and outreach to determine if you're seeing good fruit as a result. If not, then make significant changes or stop that activity completely. This can lead to some difficult conversations, yet it can also lead to the best fruit for your church and community.

Deborah Wipf is the president and founder of Velocity Management Group, a company dedicated to helping church and ministry leaders with the business side of running an organization. She loves ministry, big vision, details, project plans and organization. Combining these passions into becoming a "business coach for churches and ministries" is how Deborah seeks to serve God and help people.

For more tips and resources, check out the VMG Blog. Connect with Deborah on Facebook or Twitter (@VelocityMgmtGrp).