Pruning to Grow

It’s not uncommon to find, in any church, closets full of old stuff. I peered into one recently where everything was neatly stacked and labelled: those old Sunday School posters where every bible character wore pink or blue.  The filmstrip projector and the tiny cannisters of film.  The cassette tapes of jolly children’s music used at some Vacation Bible School in the 70’s.  My heart broke just a bit, seeing the care someone had taken to store these items.

If it is difficult to let go of old “sacred objects”, how difficult is it to discontinue programs that are no longer feeding the flock or spreading the good news?

I sometimes think that, by ending a program like the sparsely attended soup supper that Irene has run for centuries, we may open up a door to something new.  And better!  Is it possible that doing less could lead to greater vitality?

Here’s an article out of the United Methodist Church that likens pruning programs to the hoarder who finally cleans out his closet.

Have you pruned any programs or sacred objects from your ministry lately?  How did it go?

Thanks to Rev. Matt Sauer for sharing the article with me on Facebook!

2 responses to “Pruning to Grow

  1. Hi Gail,
    I enjoyed this blog–it reminded me of the Minneapolis church I attended that had an apple festival for years–it was a sweet event for sure but the ladies got older and died and eventually it was ended. Then an enterprising member came up with an idea for a street fair in the spring! This church which has no parking and is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood had some streets closed for the day and brought in fun things, vendors, music, food and the neighbors came and enjoyed themselves– connecting with the church for the first time. The church had a great time and they made a bunch of money too! Its been years since this happened and I don’t know how its faired since then but I do think its a great story of endings and beginnings.
    Blessings! Bobbie

    • Thanks, Bobbie! In my last church, one program we had to end was a beloved chilren’s pre-school. With so many working families, a 1/2 day program wasn’t working anymore and registrations had dropped. It was terrible telling our two devoted teachers we were ending the program, but within a year or two we were approached by a Hmong church that needed space and a rich new relationship with them developed. Sometimes God moves in if we step out of the way.

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