Believe it or not, it’s already the spookiest time of the year. Pumpkins are being carved. People are paying money to get scared at haunted houses. And many are planning their costumes to go trick-or-treating. (If you’re into those sorts of things, of course.)
As Halloween approaches and werewolves, witches, and webs embellish the houses on our streets, we’ve been noticing something that, for us, is even more hair-raising:
A lack of follow-through in churches.
This isn’t a new problem. But it is a problem. And it’s haunting small and large churches alike.
People are falling through the cracks. Ideas are spoken but never implemented. Follow-up is forgotten for new volunteers. Deadlines are disregarded. Teams are bogged down by slow decision-making processes. And the list goes on...
This isn’t the case in every church, but it is true of many. And there are 5 core reasons we believe this spooky trend is occurring:
1) Many churches don’t have a clear mission, vision, and strategy.
When our ministry efforts are confused, a lack of follow-through is inevitable since people will naturally pull a church’s ministry where they see fit. This is where mission, vision, and strategy come in:
Mission informs why you exist. Vision defines where you are headed. Strategy guides how you’re going to get there. These three things build a strong foundation for a healthy ministry and should define everything that goes on in your church.
Ask yourself: Do we have a clear mission, vision, and strategy that informs all of our ministry efforts?
2) Many churches lack an urgency for change.
This is going to sound obvious... But here’s the truth: any issues your church has with follow-through will never change if nothing changes.
Change is a topic we’ve been covering a lot lately. But we come across many churches who are so content with how things currently are in their ministry that they can’t recognize areas that are bearing less fruit. They lack the urgency necessary to adjust the methods of their ministry and build an atmosphere for change in order to reach people outside the faith. When new ideas are suggested, they wait for the “right moment” instead of leading the changes necessary to fulfill the vision God has given their church.
Ask yourself: Am I willing to lead the necessary changes to effectively fulfill our mission and vision?
3) Many churches preserve ineffective systems.
One of the most common reasons that tasks and people fall through the cracks in churches is ineffective systems, or a lack of systems in the first place. When we strictly rely on word-of-mouth, pen-and-paper, and email to stay organized, two things happen: we miss the opportunity to scale for growth and small-thinking becomes the guide for our ministry.
If your church is currently preserving ineffective systems, here are some simple organizational tools we recommend you consider:
Ask yourself: How effective are the current organizational systems within our church?
4) Many churches have limited accountability.
When churches don't have structures and relationships in place for accountability, it becomes permissible for projects not to be completed and ideas not to be acted on. Even a church with the best ideas will always fall short if execution on those ideas never occurs.
Ask yourself: Does our church fail to take action due to a lack of accountability?
5) Many churches are crippled by poor structure.
Structure is often assumed and rarely defined.
Particularly in smaller churches, it's easier for a leader to hold on to all decision rights. If you're not careful, that structure can quickly become a bottleneck for decision-making and leadership development.
Ask yourself: Does our structure help or hinder our church's ability to make decisions?
From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities.