How to Eliminate Busyness? Go on a Church Diet

Most churches—more than eight out of ten—are busy. Too busy. These churches need to slim down their plethora of programs, activities, and ministries. They need to go a busyness diet.

Unfortunately, many church leaders equate activities with godliness or ministry fruitfulness. For certain, churches must have some clear plan of discipleship for their members. Sadly, some of the busiest churches actually diminish discipleship fruitfulness. And ceasing certain activities in the church can be extremely hard. You can run into sacred cows and favored ministries. Still, most churches should pursue a busyness diet for at least seven reasons.

  1. Excessive activities can actually preclude members from growing spiritually. I actually interviewed one church member who said he didn’t have time to read his Bible. He was worn out almost every day from church activities.
  2. A church that is too busy rarely evaluates the effectiveness of its activities. Leaders often erroneously presume that the busyness is a sign of fruitfulness.
  3. Activity-focused churches are often inwardly focused. Those ministries are typically for the members and are rarely evangelistic or community focused.
  4. A busy church can hurt families. Many churches have different activities for children, students, and adults on multiple days of the week. Family members rarely have time together.
  5. Activity-focused churches can cause member burnout. When a member burns out, he or she then drops out.
  6. It is difficult for a church to do a few things well when it does too many things. Quantity thus replaces quality, and the most vital ministries suffer.
  7. Busy churches often lack vision clarity. Because these churches are going in so many directions, members are confused about the priorities and vision of the church.

Try this exercise. List every ministry, program, or class that your church offers in a year. If the list is exceedingly long, see if just a few can be eliminated without much pain. Then, before you add anything else to the activities of your church, make a commitment to eliminate two existing activities.

Admittedly, church busyness diets are not always easy or pleasant. But they can make the difference between a busy church and a fruitful church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders. Prior to founding Church Answers, Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Before coming to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Avoid The Conference Craze

Catalyst East 2013 is over – long live Catalyst!

Over 13,000 leaders have returned to their churches, organizations, and homes filled to the brim with pages of notes, hours of conversations, and ideas aplenty.

Now What?

Having participated in several live Catalyst events over the years, and listened to several more of them via CDs, downloads, and DVDs, I always come away inspired…

…and a little spiritually shell-shocked.

Can so much good, be bad?

In a word, yes.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini refers to this phenomenon as the “conference craze.”

In the conference craze, leaders rely solely on training events (like Catalyst, or Exponential, or Global Leadership Summit, or…) to instill direction and vision for their church. Many pastors in the past two decades have built a model of ministry by borrowing one. This is not surprising when you consider the conference offerings and their glut of photocopied vision prepackaged for import.

Lurking in the wake of the plethora of conferences is the growing virus of unoriginal sin. Most leaders of these conferences would be the first to warn you not to copy their models, but they still sell their DNA-saturated resources to thousands of church leaders.

The dramatic irony is that what happens at most conferences is the exact opposite of what propelled the host church or organization to be effective in the first place.

These leaders once endured a process of self-understanding and original thinking that helped in articulating a stunningly unique model of ministry. But after discovering their Church Unique, these leaders no longer taught the same way they learned.

Where does the conference maze lead us?

The success of these mega-models creates a great temptation for others to copy them.  In that moment, leaders walk into a thinkhole.

A “thinkhole” represents the quicksand-like dynamic where, at certain times and places, vibrant thinking gets sucked beneath the surface to suffocate and disappear from view.

Along the great race of leadership you probably find yourself on, thinkholes are the obstacles, barriers, and danger zones that keep us from thoughtful self-knowledge.

At Auxano, we are certainly not against studying best practices – we had team members at Catalyst last week and several others were following it online; Will is speaking at Exponential West this week, and several of the team will be watching it live. We have Tweeted, posted, and written about learnings we gather at events like these.

Conference best practices are okay to study – we’re just against not thinking in the process!

The reality is that most people – sadly, including many leaders in today’s churches – don’t think; they only rearrange their prejudices. Real thinking can be disruptive to the status quo and requires a great deal of courage.

Don’t get lost in the conference craze – be courageous, think through what you heard, and then struggle mightily to see if it needs to be a part of your Church Unique.

>> Download a PDF of the 6 common types of thinkholes that blanket the church landscape here.

 

Information without application leads to stagnation.
– Steven Furtick

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Leadership Biases Holding Your Church Back

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.