why full-service isn't the goal
Not long ago,
someone was expressing some appreciation for a program that our church was
offering and I jokingly said, "That's what we try to be...a full service church."
But it wasn't true. We really don't try to be and, for most churches, that
isn't a great goal. Somewhere along the way we got the idea that to be a great
church we needed to provide a ministry or program for every request that came
in. In other words, the goal was to become a spiritual shopping mall.
It is easy to
be jealous of the menu of all the services that mega churches provide and think
that is why they are a big church.
But there is a flaw in that thinking. Recent research has found that the favored
size of a congregation is 200 (give or take). BUT the amount of programs desired
by people would take a church of at least 2,000 to provide. See the problem?
Since we are
in the life transformation business, we are better off getting really clear
about why we are here and what our mission is first. Once that is not only
clear but embraced and compelling, we need to plan only those things that help us
pursue that goal, allowing God the room and environment to work. We don't have
to provide everything to everybody or be the primary social center. We do have
to align all our efforts in connecting people to God.
1. Have your leadership summarize what
they believe your church MUST be doing. (This may or may not reflect your
written mission statement).
2. Evaluate your list of programming and
evaluate with a "yes" or "no" as to whether each item advances the cause of
3. On the "yes" items, shoot for