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Six Questions To Ask Before Stopping A Ministry Program

by Matt McKee

Believe it or not, it is that time of year for evaluating what you are going to be doing this fall. Deciding things like, “what are we going to change as a ministry, and what are we going to simply stop doing?” Some things in your ministry simply need to be tweaked; others need to be done away with. How do you know the difference? I believe these six questions will help you as you go into this decision-making season.

Where does this program lead?

Every program you do as a ministry should lead somewhere or to something. I think it is easiest to think about it in terms of, your worship services should lead to discipleship opportunities. It gets a lot trickier when you are talking about a Chili Cookoff. I do believe though that you must answer the question, and if the answer is, “I am not sure it leads to anything,” then it might be a good time to stop that program or event.

Who is this program intended for?

Many times we have programs that we say are for one group of people but those people never show up. If we are building a program for the community and want community involvement but the community never shows up, then I think we must take a hard look at that program. This means we have to start tracking who is coming and who is not. Then we can ask if it leads them anywhere like the above question.

How are we measuring success for this program?

I am amazed by how many ministry leaders tell me that they are doing programs today because they have always done that program. Just because the program was successful in 1990 doesn’t mean that it is successful today. A lot has changed since then, and if you can’t say what you are measuring for success then it might be a good time to tweak it greatly or stop it all together.

What could we make better if we stopped doing this program?

Is there a program that you really want to start or try but you can’t because your calendar is already to full? I mean you have something on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and every other Friday night. Now don’t get me wrong, just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better. You may need to stop doing something on Wednesday to make Sunday better. You at least need to ask the question.

How much time, resources, and talent is this program taking up?

Many of your volunteers in your ministry will rise to the expectation. If you give them the option that they can volunteer every other week or every week, then they will pick every other week a lot of the time. The same goes with their time, resources, and talent. We have to start being strategic with our programs because we only have so many dollars, people, and opportunities to engage our culture.

If we stopped this program, who would notice the most?

This question is intended for the other leaders or staff around your church. If you stop a program that the senior pastor’s wife started and is very passionate about, then you will want to get her involved in asking the above questions right away. Don’t stop a program on your own. Involve other leaders and staff in the decision-making. It will make the process go a lot smoother.

What question did I miss? What program have you stopped doing that you are really glad you stopped? I would love to hear from you.

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