The Family: A Casualty of a Hectic Church Calendar

As I sit in my normal place of writing this morning, my mind is rushing through the multiplicity of church services, activities, Bible studies, dinners, fellowships, trips, meetings, and other events that are on the church calendar.

Here is an honest question: Can all the activities in and connected to the church actually hurt families?

I’ve been on both sides of this. I have been the church member trying to do everything that is “expected” at church while not dropping anything from the juggling act of a busy life.

I am now a pastor wrestling with how much is too much—not  wanting to upset people by eliminating their favorite program, activity, service, or ministry, but also not wanting to see families stretched too thin—driven to the point of spiritual burnout and church abandonment.

The Tension

How do churches offer what Christians need, as presented in Scripture, without the calendar of events becoming a point of stress, burnout, and frustration for families?

The Solutions- What We Must Realize

1- What people sometimes expect may not be what is needed.

2- If you lose the family, you lose the church.

3- Our purpose as a church, as defined by Scripture, should drive our calendars.

4- Activity does not always equal productivity.

5- We need to do less. It’s not really as simple as it sounds, at least not in my context, but I think it is needed.

6- Constantly being at the church building does not necessarily mean the church family is really living in community.

7- It is possible for a church to ‘activity’ and ‘program’ itself to death.

Closing Thoughts

My heart breaks for families that are at a place of spiritual burnout.

Perhaps our lives should be less invested in church events and more invested in the people of the church.

Perhaps in making church events less a part of our schedules we will in reality be making the Church more a part of our lives.

 

4 Ways Churches Can Prepare for Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is just a few days away, and while it may appear to be too late to start any new efforts for your Easter service, there are still some things you can do. Here are a few of them.

1- Utilize social media ads.

Social media is a great tool for today’s churches. Most social media outlets allow you to create ads and then target a very specific demographic. The cost is usually low and the exposure is great. Just be sure it is a professional looking ad. An ad that looks like it was thrown together will do more to hurt your efforts than help.

2- Encourage church members to follow-up with those they have already invited.

Hopefully those in your church have been inviting people to your Easter services. While attending your Easter service may be a priority for you and other members of your church, it probably isn’t for those who have been invited.

As Easter Sunday moves closer, there is a tendency for those who have been invited to start having second thoughts, make other plans, and back out of their commitment to attend. Following up with those who have been invited is necessary.

3- Develop a plan for visitor follow-up.

It is great to have visitors, but a great opportunity has been lost if follow-up doesn’t happen. Develop a plan to follow-up with visitors that utilizes members in the process. Perhaps various small groups or Sunday School classes can reach out to those who have visited. Maybe you need to develop a ministry team for this purpose.

The point is that visitor follow-up does not need to be rooted in the staff alone; get others involved.

4- Pray…Pray…Pray

This is by far the most important thing you can do. Planning and preparation is not a substitute for God working. No matter how great the sermon, pastors cannot change hearts. No matter how moving the music, it cannot make spiritually dead men alive. Only God can do these things.

Pray for God to prepare hearts leading up to Easter.

Pray for God to work in and through the service.

Pray for God to prepare you, the pastor.

Pray for lives to be changed.

Pray that God will do what only God can do.

Easter is a great opportunity to reach people. And while Easter Sunday is only a few days away, there are still things you can do to make a difference in people’s lives. Take advantage of these last few days, and as a result, you will see the fruit from it.

5 Benefits of a Church Internship Program

One of the goals I have had for some time is to build an internship program into my church. I’m not exactly sure what this will look like, how we will do it, or when I will be able to do it, but I am convinced of the necessity and benefits. Here are 5 reasons pastors should consider building an internship program into their churches.

1- It is a way to train and invest in the next generation of church leaders.

This is by far the most important reason. If we only invest in our generation the church will not survive beyond us. Investing in the next generation of church leaders communicates that we care about the impact of our churches beyond just the here and now. It is a way for churches to maximize their impact.

2- It is a way to gain insights on your current ministry from a fresh set of eyes.

There is always the danger of only looking at your ministry through the same set of eyes. Over time weak areas of ministry get overlooked. Things that may need addressing are excused due to the fact that they have been accepted as normal. By bringing an intern on staff, you are able to learn from a new perspective. This can be a huge benefit.

3- It is a way to find potential staff members.

Finding and hiring staff is always a challenge. Having an internship program within your church is a way to find potential staff in a way that allows you to learn about them, see their potential, and see them in action. It is not uncommon for an intern to become permanent staff.

4- It is a way to help people discover God’s specific calling for their lives.

There may be people who come to do an internship at your church who know God wants them in ministry, but they are unsure about what aspect of ministry. An internship gives them the opportunity to learn about different aspects of ministry, get involved in various ministries, and discover in what area of ministry they are gifted and passionate.

5- It is a way to get help in certain areas of your ministry that may be weak.

Growing churches can always use help. There is always an aspect of ministry that can use more attention, more planning, and more workers. Having an internship program in your church is a way, in part, to get immediate help in certain areas of ministry. Obviously this may not be a long-term solution, but it can provide some immediate help.

An internship program may not be right for every church, but I do think it provides benefits that most churches can experience.

Does it take work? Yes.

Are there challenges? Yes.

Does it take a financial investment? Yes.

Can it further God’s kingdom? Most definitely.