Once a church program takes root, it is difficult to remove it. Whether the ministry is needed or not, it’s easier to extend than end it. This post explores how to discern whether to continue or discontinue programs.
It’s more than a theoretical exercise. Due to a change in vocation, I have to choose whether to continue KevinWilson360.org. Today, I’m applying the three diagnostic questions to my own ministry.
Does the program help the church engage in God’s mission?
Most programs start somehow connected to God’s mission. Over a period of years, some ministries move away from God’s mission. If leaders can’t demonstrate how a program connects people to Christ and the congregation, the program needs adjusted or ended.
As for KW360, the whole point is assisting churches in engaging in God’s mission. So far, so good, for the future of KW360.
Does this program connect people from outside and inside our church?
Churches focus around 80 percent of resources on church members and staff. Does this mean about half our ministries need to end? No, it does not. It does mean we need to work towards making each ministry connect with both outsiders and insiders.
For example, elders usually serve members and staff. However, elders can also ensure the church is equipping members to live out their vocations. Likewise, elders can ensure members share Christ anytime nonmembers use the church building.
While KW360 is specifically geared toward church leaders and congregations, I do use it to connect with unchurched people. For an example, consider this post for spiritual yet irreligious people. They are usually Christians, but still unchurched.
Is this program preventing our church from investing in a more beneficial ministry?
Churches have limited resources. This can lead to hard choices. My home church has not sent youth to our denomination’s national youth gathering in almost twenty years. One reason is financial. The youth gathering occurs every three years. For the same funds, we could send the youth on week-long mission trips each year.
This is the question that could impact KW360. In my new role, I will write posts for our District website up to twice a month. I could replace KW360 with the District platform.
However, I’m accustomed to posting twice a week. Instead of shuttering the blog, I’ll keep publishing devotions until December. At the same time, I’ll create blog posts for KW360 at least twice a month.
What lessons have you learned about discerning whether to continue church programs? Leave a note in the comments or shoot me an email.