We’ve all had that moment as a minister, right? Where we’re coming into a church and we look around and we see—or maybe feel is a better term—the lack of energy for a ministry that the church has been doing year after year after year.
Yeah. We’ve all been there. It’s not easy. There are still a few ministries in both of my congregations that need to be killed, axed, put into the memory box for later. What’s interesting, is the one church who seems to be more into moving forward and changing is the one most resistant to stopping these ministries.
The other seems to be all for stopping ministries. Perhaps it’s because they’re more tired, have less people to keep the projects going, or who knows? Maybe they’re listening more closely to God’s call.
It’s not easy to stop a ministry. I always feel like such a bad guy when I have to “sit down and chat” with someone over whether or not we should be doing a ministry. That is not an easy conversation to have with anyone. It’s like a break-up you know is going to go bad, that you know there will be hard feelings.
Here are some things to look for whether or not a ministry should end.
- Identify what that ministry was originally intended to do. This should in some way fall under the vision of the church, and if it doesn’t, then you know the ministry should end ASAP or at least be transformed to fall under the vision the church has.
- Is that ministry actually succeeding in its intentions? This is a very difficult question to ask and to assess. It’s probably one of the most important discernments to have, though. This is what will tell you if that ministry needs to be stopped or needs to continue.
- Is there energy for the ministry to continue? If there’s no one willing to participate or willing to keep something going, then why are you stressing about keeping it going? Move on to something new; move on to something more people can participate in and more people have a passion for. Just because it’s something you’ve always done does not mean it’s something you should continue to do.
- Pray about it. Which really should be number one. God will let you know if this is something that needs to change or not.
It is not easy to end a ministry. It shouldn’t be. But you have to remind yourself and your congregation of the why (to spread the love Jesus has for all), and then teach and learn about how to end that ministry in a way that will generate the least amount of conflict and drama. A lesson we always can learn from for the next time.