Is It Time to Update Your Ministry?

So you’re sitting at your computer. Suddenly it pops up on you. “Update Available.” You then have to make a decision if you want to click “yes” or “no.” 

Same scenario in ministry. You’re suddenly confronted with the reality that it may be time for a ministry update. A decision has to be made…”yes” or “no?”

What causes us to say “no” to a ministry update?

  • Busyness. Most of the time when the update option pops up and I say “no,” it’s because I tell myself I’m too “busy” to make the time for it. I tell myself I will do it next time it pops up. Same thing happens in ministry. It’s sometimes hard to work ON the ministry when you’re working IN the ministry. It’s like trying to jump off a moving train. You have to intentionally make time for updates.
  • Interruption. Accepting an update can interrupt what you’re doing. Especially when it tells you that you’re going to have to reboot your computer for it to work. You see, in ministry, an update will be an interruption. It will interrupt your schedule, programming, and structure.
  • Fear. Will this affect any of the current programs on my computer? I’m afraid I won’t know how to operate the system with the update. In ministry, we are sometimes afraid of updates because it will shake up the status quo or make a group of people unhappy. We are afraid to try because we’re not sure if it will work.
  • Change. We think things are okay the way they are. We fall into complacency and don’t want to journey down the complicated road of making changes. It moves us out of our comfort zone.

When is it time for a ministry update?

  • When we are using programs just because we’ve always used them. Did you know that a single computer used to take up a whole room? Can you imagine having one of those puppies in your house? Are there philosophies, programs, or events that you are doing just because the church has always done them?
  • When we are not being effective. The whole reason for updates is to make things more effective and efficient. They were created from feedback, bugs that needed to be fixed, and creative planning. Each year, we must sit down and take a hard look at our programs. Are they reaching the unchurched? Are they helping people grow spiritually? Are they advancing God’s kingdom?
  • When personalities are overriding productivity. Are you hesitant to hit the button because someone will be offended? Is there someone who is resistant to hitting the update button because they will lose control of something? Are you hesitant because you know it will stir up conflict? There’s too much at stake to let personalities override productivity.
  • When we are “comfortable.” It’s easy to just keep the program the way it is. You know it well. You’ve used it for forever. It’s hard to start over. It’s easier to just live in yesterday’s successes. But we are not called to be comfortable. We are called to be conquerors in Christ. Conquering requires us to constantly be moving forward.

What are the benefits of a ministry update?

  • You can stay connected with the rapidly changing culture around you. Updates help you stay current with the latest. Are you trying to do ministry with a floppy disk in a 4g speed day? I am watching Blockbuster stores close all around me. Why? They didn’t update in time. They didn’t change with the mobile, digital culture around them and know they are behind the curve.
  • You will be more effective and productive. You will see fruit and a breath of fresh air blow through your ministry.
  • You will acquire new skills. Many times when you update, it forces you to learn new skills. It moves you into a new level of leadership. You grow personally and professionally.
  • Your vision will be focused on the future instead of the past. Updating turns your attention and passion to what God has ahead for your life and ministry.

How do you push the update button on your ministry?

  • Take a hard, honest look at your current programs, events, and philosophies.
  • Prepare a recommendation for your senior leadership. Include a current programming evaluation, why you feel the update button needs to be pushed, and your plan for pushing the button and implementing it. Make sure the update button you are recommending aligns with the overall church vision and direction.
  • Take your time pushing the update button. Be patient and ask God to give you wisdom in timing. If you push the button too fast before getting key people on board, it will be difficult.
  • Share with key volunteers and families why the update needs to be made.
  • Have an implementation plan after you push the update button.
  • Be prepared…just when you get that update figured out, another one will pop up. There will always be more updates to make if you want to be a growing leader with a growing ministry.

Is it time to push the “update” button on your ministry?

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Dale Hudson
Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 30 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)