Simplify Your Church Calendar with Five Significant Steps

For many good reasons, church leaders often desire to simplify their schedules.

  • They know too many programs is paralyzing for new people, as the next step is unclear.
  • They know that it is impossible for their church to do everything well.
  • They see leaders exhausted and they know activity does not equate with transformation.
  • They want to see people in the church know their neighbors and interact in the community and not just attend a plethora of programs.

Yeah, there really are a lot of reasons to simplify. But it is easier desired, imagined, and said than accomplished. Yelling about it and taking a hatchet to your church’s schedule is not the wisest approach. What can a ministry leader do? Here are five steps to consider:

1. Clarify your discipleship process.

The biggest mistake leaders make when desiring to simplify their programs is to start with their programs.Start with your discipleship process, not with your programs. What is your overarching strategy for making disciples? Clarify and communicate that to people before you attempt to adjust your church schedule.

2. Show how your programs are tools in your discipleship process.

As you clarify your discipleship process, show how the programs you offer are tools in your discipleship process. Champion the essential programs in your process as important environments that facilitate discipleship. As you shine more and more light on the most important, the less important can begin to fade.

3. Emphasize personal mission.

What does mission have to with simplifying a calendar? A lot. The role of a believer is not to continually attend programs at church. Believers are to reconcile people to Christ, just as Christ has reconciled us to Himself. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is a missionary or an imposter.” In God’s providence, He has placed believers in their professions, their neighborhoods, and in their school districts. And it is not so they could drive through those areas on the way to church five nights a week.

4. Show how an over-programmed calendar harms mission.

When people have a desire to serve people in the community, they don’t beg for more programs at church. Instead they value space in their personal lives to know their neighbors, to be involved in their kids’ schools, to coach in the rec leagues, and to get to know people who do not follow Christ. Ministry leaders are wise to point out how an over-programmed church calendar competes with personal mission. If people are at the church all the time, they are rarely in the community.

5. Simplify

Only after you have laid a foundation for discipleship and mission should you start to simplify your church calendar. As you do so, continually remind people of the why beneath the changes.


Connect with the Auxano team to learn more about simplifying your calendar to increase ministry effectiveness.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 
Good stuff Carey
 
— Josh
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Consequences of a Busy Church Calendar

Adrian Rogers is quoted with the pithy statement, “If Satan cannot make you bad, he will make you busy.” There is much wisdom in the statement, as cluttered lives are typically not Christ-centered lives. The Lord encourages us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). According to the Lord, there is a connection between being still and knowing Him. When we are continually busy, when we are always grinding out work, our awareness and awe for Him decreases.

Many church leaders have wisely encouraged people to slow down, not to sign up for every sport, and not to commit to every extracurricular activity. Ironically, and painfully so, is that many churches don’t follow their own counsel. So while many church leaders have bemoaned the busyness in their communities, they have failed to bemoan the busyness in their churches. Here are three major consequences of a busy church:

1. Families are pulled in many directions.

A busy church calendar inevitably pulls families in multiple directions. While preaching and advocating family dinners and family devotions, a busy church calendar can make living these out and attending all that is listed in the bulletin impossible.

2. Church people only know church people.

A busy church helps church people know more and more church people and systematically removes them from the broader community. In a busy church, people are removed from living as salt and light among people who don’t know the Lord.

3. Pastors become program managers.

In a busy church, pastors are asked to neglect equipping the body in exchange for running programs. In a busy church, equipping is replaced with entertaining through program after program.

Perhaps Adrian Rogers’s statement should be applied to the local church too. Church: If Satan cannot make you bad, he will make you busy.

Read more from Eric.


Learn more about the benefits of a vision-focused calendar by contacting one of our Auxano Navigators today.

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Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Jon Breshears — 11/24/16 9:19 am

After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!

Oree McKenzie — 11/15/16 5:55 am

Interesting and worthy of note. Thank you.

Recent Comments
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 
Good stuff Carey
 
— Josh
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.