Why Some Ministries Will Die At The End Of 2020


dominoes

Some “church ministries” are going to disappear in 2021 because of 2020.  The reasons for the demise of some “church ministries” are several, and probably caused by more than these three triggers.

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√  Seemingly, its absence has shown it to be relatively unimportant.
√  Ministry has been a lot easier without it.
√  There is no longer any congregational interest in it.

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#1 — Seemingly Unimportant:  This-or-that ministry has been, and still is, out of operation for months, and none of the vital church metrics have changed.  That ministry has not been restarted as people have slowly filtered back to a “Brick &-Mortar” service.  Yet, it seems like Sunday attendance, support, new membership, and response to the Gospel remain steady.

#2 — Easier Ministry:  Not running VBS, AWANA, Visitation, Outreach, Sunday School, Multiple Sunday Morning Services, Evangelistic Outreach Programs, Church Fellowships, and/or Youth Events has really lightened the load — ” Let’s not restart that ministry, or at least not as “intensely” as we have in the past.”

#3 — Lost Interest:  The congregation interested in this-or-that ministry has seriously waned and withered over these past several months.  The church members are not asking about it.  Actually, they may indeed welcome its demise for good or poor reasons — It was ineffective, and they knew that, or their lives are easier without it (see point #2 — like pastors like people).

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Some Pushback:
#1 — Seemingly Unimportant: 
There will always be ministries that do not change the church metrics of attendance, support, new membership, and/or response to the Gospel. There might be other church ministries, which were they to die would not affect those metrics as well.

As you may be already thinking, no church ministries should be metric related or driven!  Obviously, that is not true.  “Effectiveness” is a metric decision — getting the best response out of the effort, time and money expended.

Yes, some ministries ought to be put out of their misery!  They are not effective and ought to die!  But not to die without a fresh attempt to birth a more effective ministry, reaching out to people within and without the church.

Nevertheless,  we do engage in some ministries because it is good and right to minister in this-or-that way, regardless of how it affects attendance, money, response to the Gospel, or new membership.  In fact, some ministries draw down some of those metrics, but we accept that reality because that church ministry matters!

Let me also add that some ministries feed into other ministries.  While they do not seemingly contribute to the effective outreach of a local church ministry directly, they provide part of the flow into the main currents of local church growth and outreach!

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#2 — Easier Ministry:  Fewer “church ministries” do make it easier! WOW — some ministries took an immense amount of time. A member once remarked that if a ministry takes more time to arrange and set up, than to run, we should drop it. I suggested that his wife stop cooking meals or serving a family Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. [1]

hot dog cart corner“Church ministries” do take time, hard work, money, energy, apprehension, tension, etc.!  Nevertheless, as I have often stated, we in ministry ought not be less passionate than the owner of that stainless steel food wagon on the corner of New York City who is selling hotdogs and sausage.  Up early – no matter the weather — hoping to sell more today than yesterday — wrapping it all up in the evening — and going at it again tomorrow.

Some pastors should work on a NYC street corner for a few weeks and come to appreciate the call to Gospel ministry!  The ministry is far too rampant with lazy and self-serving pastors who care more about their ease than evangelism and/or strengthening the saints.

Everything Rises Or Falls On Leadership!
— Dr. Lee Roberson — 

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#3 — Lost Interest:  There is always the prospect of “lost interest” on the local church’s horizon.  How many times has a ministry begun with great interest and anticipation, only to dwindle down to a few sympathetic members who feel for the few others who will turn out?

Sometimes, the lost interest should be a red flag as to its effectiveness — or lack thereof.  God’s people may well recognize that there are more effective uses of money and time, and other avenues should be pursued — i.e. evening home visitation may have passed its effectiveness.

However, it is also the responsibility of a pastor to cast and recast, and recast, and recast a vision.  The “church ministry” is good and is needed, but God’s people need to hear and understand why it is important, how it fits into the overall approach to ministry, and to hear about its effectiveness as it has evolved and changed.

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Sadly — and it is sad — There are “church ministries” which have died in 2020, others which will die in the closing months of this year, and other which will be pronounced dead in 2021.

Some will die this Thanksgiving and/or Christmas season.  “Less” will mark the end of the 2020 “holiday season.”  Instead of creatively planning and designing some different and unique opportunities, innovation and new ideas will die on the bed of preferred comfort.  They will take too much planning, work, money, time, energy, effort to seriously consider.  “Maybe next year?”  Just thinking about doing ???  turns some away from doing much of anything!

Some “church ministries” will die, not because they should have died, or could not have been redesigned to be more effective [2], but because those in leadership are “the children of our age” — Luke 7:31-35; Matthew 11:15-19 —  “wisdom is justified of all her children.” They die because leaders make decisions that do not strengthen the church, but which contribute to the darkness of this world, and which transparently deepen the coldness of hearts.

While such leaders speak about the coldness of the saints and/or the Great Commission given to the church, the truth of the matter  — It is the failure of leadership that kills church ministries!  They don’t die without pastoral instigation and/or approval!

Proverbs 27:16 — The shameful truth is obvious because it smells so loudly!

The reality is, church leaders are responsible for the “church ministry mortality rate,” and the lack of creatively birthing new attempts to reach out to a lost world.  “Saul” can say it was the people, but God knows, it was the leadership.  The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons will only substantiate that reality when yet other ministries disappear, and/or creative alternatives [3] are smothered by ease, disinterest, and/or laziness.

The death of some church ministries is due to . . . .

#1 — a shallow grasp of the need and value of that “church ministry.”
#2 — a dispassionate or lazy leadership.
#3 — an inability to keep the vision alive among God’s people.

It will be the leaders who grasp the opportunities during these closing two months of 2020 which will prove that they have the leadership mentality to thrive and grow as a local church after this all passes. [2]. They will grab the advantage of some really creative ideas in outreach — and there are some really good ones!

The men of this world work wiser
than the children of light!

Tampa Bay Concession TDM

Taken on the entrance of Tampa Bay, 2020, by Ted Martens.

Everything Rises Or Falls On Leadership!
— Dr. Lee Roberson — 

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1. The work involved in planning and setting up a “Harvest Hayride” for decades at Faith Baptist Church was at times exhausting!  Two weeks of 10-12 hour cold October days before, and a full week after to take it all down, as well as the actual Friday and Saturday evenings, alongside hundreds of other fellow co-workers, was hard physical work!  But seeing 2,500 people come out on those two Fall evenings always reminded us that we had tried again to reach out to our community.  I know what the answer to outreach is not — “Drop Ministry,” or Do Less,” or worse yet — “Do Nothing!”

2.  As a local church, what are you going to do in church ministry during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s “holidays?”

  • People are going to do something over these next two months.  If the church has no plans, the world has.
  • What can you do?
    What would work?
    How can you still reach out to those families around you in a meaningful way?
    What would be some novel, unique, effective, creative ways to minister to those who need to hear a message of Thankfulness, about the birth of Christ, and/or the start of a new year?

3. Drive Determines Creativity:  When you are driven, creativity kicks in!  When you have little-to-no interest, your mind shows no interest in thinking about options.

4. “78% Of Church Leaders Are Moderately Or Significantly Concerned About Their Christmas Plans.’  — https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?zx=cfgvawsigey6#inbox/FMfcgxwKjKnfsJrKsxwmTHdJDFGBltlW

I am only one,
but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do.

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
The something I ought to do, I can do.
And by the grace of God, I will.

— Edward Everett Hale

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