Do Your Programs Justify Themselves?

A plethora of church programs is not an indicator of church health and vitality. A busy calendar does not equate with transformation. A long list of church programs “you must not miss” does not make a church more effective.

In fact, the opposite is often true. Too many programs, too much activity, divides the energy of people and sends people in a multitude of directions. A busy calendar can fill schedules without filling hearts. It is ironic that some pastors have preached “If Satan cannot get you to sin, he will just get you busy” while offering more and more programs to keep the church busy. A.W. Tozer wrote about how church programs can “justify themselves”:

In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord of the work and quite literally wear our people out as well. 

I have heard more than one pastor boast that his church was a “live” one, pointing to the printed calendar as proof—something on every night and several meetings during the day… A great many of these time-consuming activities are useless and others plain ridiculous. “But,” say the eager beavers, “they provide fellowship and hold our people together.”

If the many activities engaged in by the average church led to the salvation of sinners and the perfecting of believers, they would justify themselves easily and triumphantly, but they do not.

A program justifies itself, according to Tozer, if it leads to salvation of sinners and perfecting of believers. Perhaps leaders need to think a bit differently at times. Instead of putting the burden on a person to prove why a program should be eliminated, what if we put the burden on a program for why it is necessary? Instead of needing to build a case for why something should be taken off the calendar, what if the burden were placed on the program to prove why it should remain?

Comments

  1. says

    Great points Eric. I find that many pastors are great at starting programs and empowering the congregation to start and lead them, but often times there is no system that holds it all together.

    Jim Collins asserts that we need to preserve the core and stimulate progress. Without clarity on what the core is, then programs will just be started over and over again in hopes of stimulating progress, but there will be no flywheel.

  2. Pastor Darrell Jones says

    In fourteen years of being on staff at 4 different churches,(yet same in style), it seems to be frowned upon and disrespectful to prune the calendar and free up leaders and laity. Adding to the calendar seems to be considered “right” while removing seems to be considered “unholy” and irreverent. Thanks for listening!

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