Many churches have lots of programmes and activities running that – if they’re being really honest about it – essentially happen because it’s what we’ve always done rather than based on any solid principle or belief in the importance of the thing itself. I’m sure most of them were started for good reasons, and it’s not to say there are no reasons to keep running them now, but it would be fair to say these are not the main reason they are still happening.
One of the fringe benefits of the Covid-19 lock down for the church will be when we come back together and are able to start meeting again. We now have the ability to ask some important questions.
- Why are we running these things?
- Are they necessary/Should we keep running them?
- Are they a good use of resources?
- Are they fit for purpose or are they unnecessarily outmoded?
- Are there better things we could be doing if we weren’t running these things?
I know we all ought to be asking these questions all the time, but let’s be honest, we often don’t. Whether that’s because we’re so busy with all our activities we don’t have the headspace to stop and ask these questions, I don’t know. Maybe we don’t want to ask them because it might require change and we know what a headache that can be in churches. But now we have both the time and the opportunity to ask and answer these seriously.
There are, of course, the things that are mandated by scripture. We are called to preach the Word, share the gospel, care for the flock and equip them for the work of ministry. But exactly how we do those things is a matter for wisdom and is where the above questions bite.
We might well run evangelistic works that intend to share the gospel but they are no longer fit for purpose. We might have means of caring for the flock that are so out of touch they just don’t work anymore. We may do things in our services simply because it’s the way we’ve always done them. We need to ask, why do we do these things – if there is a good, biblical reason for them – are they working as they ought?
I wonder if there are things that you can review? What will you press on with and what might you consider scaling back?