Interesting post over at United Methodeviations

Much of what we love doing we love because it is easy and familiar, not because it works.  Recently, I visited a church where the long-time, older members held a fund-raising dinner and made almost $3,000.  Not bad.  They had eighteen people working all of two days to prepare, but had been planning and advertising for weeks.  The same day as the dinner, three boys from the youth group took coolers of Red Bull to a college campus and each sold over 200 cans at $4.00.  They were there for about four hours and raised over $2,500.  Now, this was not a large church, so it is a good tale of fund-raising for ministry, but that’s not the point.  The point is that the dinner — a tradition — raises very little for all the time, effort, and energy it requires.

Read that first line again:  “Much of what we love doing we love because it is easy and familiar. ”

Dean Kelly noted that small churches often remain small churches because they are comfortable doing the things small churches do, and are unwilling to make the kinds of changes needed to keep the church from dying off.

“Having once succumbed to debility, a church is unlikely to recover, not because measures leading to recovery could not be prescribed and instituted … but because the persons who now occupy positions of leadership and followership in the church will not find them congenial and will not want to institute them.  They prefer a church which is not to strenuous or demanding – a church, in fact, which is dying.” (Dean M Kelley,  Why Conservative Churches are Growing (NY:  Harper & Row, 1972)

Not that you want to change what is good and essential.  We don’t compromise on scripture reading and prayer, but the style and format and peripheral activities need to be looked at from time to time.  To not regularly re-examine why you do what you do is to risk failure as an organization.  Rememer, “a grave is a rut with an end point.”

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