Too Much Too Soon

I wanted to take a moment and tell you about a mistake we made.  I think we’ve done a lot of things right, but we also do some things wrong.  And it’s probably more helpful to learn from people’s mistakes rather than make them yourself.

From the beginning, we said we wanted to do four things well.  Music, teaching, kids and small groups.  We belived we should say no to everything else.  We staffed and budgeted around these things.  We made them our priority.  We tried to act like a "real church" only on Sunday, and we still do these things now.

We will probably always be slim when it comes to various ministries, but in the first couple of years of a church plant, I think it is even more crucial to be streamlined, simple, and just say no. 

But after 5 months, we tried to do a once a month service for believers/Christians.  We wanted a time to address more of our core, and do some "deeper" (i hate that word) worship.  So we launched a monthly service called First Tuesday.  We did the first one in January.  It was good.  We had a decent turnout.  I talked about vision.  We did some worship.

It took a good part of the day to setup, and we had to arrange for childcare.  And in the end, we determined that while it was a good event and nobody was mad that they game, it probably wasn’t necessary to our growth.  We have a system of moving people from the front door (Sunday morning) to the living room (journey groups), and this Tuesday service was something that existed outside of that system.  It didn’t help move people to small groups.  It was good, but it wasn’t great.  It was helpful, but maybe not necessary.  It didn’t fit in with our steps or with our system.  It was something way off to the side.

So after one time, we decided to kill it.  If we were to keep doing it, it would take some focus and some energy and some money away from Sunday.  And that’s not the thing to do right now.  Even though we really believed the keep it simple stuff, we got sucked into trying something extra.  I think it was a mistake.  I should have said no.  But the temptation is to do more and add more, and after 5 short months, I was feeling it.  I always come up with great ideas, and I have to put them in the file and make myself say no (or wait).  In the first couple years of a church plant, I think it’s so important to be streamlined and not get sidetracked.  Even good things and ministry can sidetrack you.

We have decided to streamline even more.  Sunday and small groups.  We’re going to spend time with key volunteers that make these things happen.  Even if that means not counseling people. (we’ll refer people).  Even if that means not starting a biker ministry or planning a VBS.  We can’t do all these things well and then do Sunday and Groups well.  And Sunday and Groups is our peanut butter and jelly.

Anyway, that’s one of many mistakes we made.  Hope it helps.

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1 comment so far

  1. Jeff Mangum on

    Michael,

    Thanks so much for this. I totally agree, we learn from mistakes in a way that we can’t learn any other way. Thank you for the reminder of simplfying and doing things with excellence.


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