Everything has a season.
Remember when the top evangelism strategy at your church was going door-to-door and sharing the Gospel?
Remember when you were the contemporary church in town because you used an overhead projector to display your worship lyrics?
Remember when beveled fonts mixed with a little drop shadow used to be on the cutting edge of design?
Consider what Solomon wrote in this well-known passage.
Ecclesiastes 3 – NLT
1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Speaking of “a time to keep and a time to throw away,” there are items, philosophies, methods, and technologies our church congregants and leadership have a hard time letting go of because they used to work so well. A lot of folks refer to these as sacred cows.
Some examples of sacred cows include (but are definitely not limited to) the following:
- Music style
- Weekly alter calls
- Printed bulletins
- Email newsletters
- Flash websites
- Church logo
- Service times
- Sunday school
- Wednesday night prayer meetings
- Church sign with the inspirational [cheesy] quote
- Buildings and the use of them
- Someone told me recently their members didn’t want to do away with their website’s splash page that asks if you are a visitor or attender because they wanted their own section.
This is our third summer living in Chicagoland. Our house actually backs up to a huge farm. For the past two summers we’ve seen nothing but rows and rows of corn — Like Field of Dreams. This year it appears they’ve changed it to soy beans.
Why would they do that?
According to Wikipedia, “Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.”
In other words, it’s OK to not stick with the same crop over multiple seasons. In fact, it’s highly advantageous to change it up.
Here are the benefits of crop rotation. Think through these with a filter of reasons why your church should slaughter some sacred cows.
- Prevents the build up of pathogens and pests that occur when one species is continuously cropped. Stir things up and get rid of those ‘pathogens’ of laziness and complacency that come with old traditions.
- Avoids excessive depletion of soil nutrients one plant needs over the other. Some sacred cows really suck the life out of your staff, volunteers, and your church.
- Allows certain weeds to be eliminated. Some of those sacred cows bring in folks who are very self-serving, and driven by personal agendas, and your church would be better without them.
Change it up!
There are many still doing church the way it was done in the 1970′s, 80′s, and 90′s (with the same carpet).
Rotate and even re-visit those sacred cows after a season. There’s nothing new under the sun. Some things need be sent out to the pasture, yet others will come back in season. Either way, your church needs a break.
I heard about a church that gives each ministry a three year commitment, and they re-evaluate the need after after that time period. Not a bad idea.
What needs to be re-evaluated at your church? Please comment below.