Don’t worry this has nothing to do with assisted suicide and dying on one’s own terms. No today I am talking about the things we allow, or should allow, to die in our churches and ministry. There is a great equalizer in our lives. It’s called time. The richest person in the world and the poorest have the 24 hour day in common. No one gets more and no one gets less. To give time to one thing is to take that precious time from something else and this is urgent for churches to understand.

You see, virtually no one can give the church 24 hours a day. It’s an impossibility. Needless to say we want more than one hour a week, and a tithe of time would be ideal, but that’s basically two and a half hours a day and we rarely get that from any but the most dedicated. The reality is people have a limited time to give to the church, so we who lead churches, need to do our best to help them invest their time wisely. For example, I once heard a mega-church pastor say if a person only has an hour a week to give the church, in addition to worship, the last thing he would do is have them use that hour sit in a meeting, and for the most part, unless that person has a true leadership gift, I would agree. T   here’s something of even greater concern however.

It’s when churches have too many things, especially programs, on life-support. Think about it. There’s great lamentation over “x’ program that once had half the congregation involved and now no one supports it. It’s a fight for the leadership team to get someone to lead it, and when they finally do, no one attends, leaving the leader who was arm twisted into taking it on feeling like a failure, like they’re wasting their time or both. There’s a name for that kind of program. It’s called “DEAD.” Oh at one time it was great, and many people were excited about it and passionate about it and we have fond memories of it, but it’s time has passed. Here’s the rule. If no one has the passion to lead something it is better to let it die with dignity so that something else can grow. No sense pushing and prodding people to help it to linger, rather it’s time to help people to find what meets the spiritual needs of people today.

Now I can almost feel the pushback on this one even as I punch the keys. “What if it’s something important like Bible Study, or Sunday School or even Worship?” you might be thinking. No I’m not suggesting we jettison things of spiritual importance, but I am suggesting you look at the way you’re doing those things. The Bible doesn’t change, but methods can change and frankly, they must. This is where prayerful creativity comes into play. “That’s the way we have always done it…” is not a God-given mandate to keep doing things the way you have always done them. Look for the passionate ones and empower them to lead, whether that be to resurrect something or birth something new. Either of those is fine, the only thing that’s not okay is to let dead things keep taking up space and time.

Assignment: Is there anything in your church that is dead? Is it “resurrect-able” or could the energy and resources it takes be used to birth something new?

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