annie-spratt-260410-unsplash

Is It Pruning Time?

ROUND ONE: Cut The Dead Ones

Do you have stuff that’s dead? Maybe it was beautiful and awesome once, but now it’s that brown, wilted part that just looks ugly and distracts from the pretty blooms around it . . . Kill it. Bury it. And move on. Dead things will only corrupt the things around them, and will often pass on the stuff that killed them.
In ministry, this is totally true! Is there stuff that’s just been a drag? An event that once was huge and is now a pain where you go through the motions and no one even shows up? Or maybe it’s that Bible study that just limps along without any purpose any more and seems to be a leaving point for your ministry. Don’t let the sickness spread! Keeping dead programs around will only make everything else stink, too. Just cut it, you’ll feel better.

ROUND TWO: Remove the Has-Beens

Some of the roses that have to get cut are still blooming, but they peaked last week and they will soon be wilted and dead. It’s time to cut ’em, bring them in for a last hurrah in the vase, and then toss them out.
Do you have some aspect of your ministry that is not what it once was? Maybe it needs to be revitalized . . . but maybe it just needs to go. Sometimes we have programs and events that are great for a time and then they go away and we do other stuff. That’s fine! Do that. Get rid of things that are on their way out. Just because it’s been around for a while, doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. You don’t want it to stick around and die.

ROUND THREE: Trim for Maximum Growth and Health

This is the hardest one. Take an honest, hard, long look at your ministry and all of the programs. Now step back and look at your mission and your values. What is the heartbeat of your church and your ministry’s role within that?
When it comes to roses, some of the pretty flowers need to be cut. The strongest stems need to stay; the straight, solid ones that grow out from the center can grow healthy and strong. They will allow the root of the plant to receive nourishment, and won’t fight among each other for sunlight and room to breathe. Pretty flowers that grow inward and clog the middle have to go. Beautiful roses on weak stems have to be cut. Too many stems will deplete the plant and make it weak.
Back to your programs: Your mission, values, and passions are your center. Everything should grow out from there, reaching first those within the ministry, and then reaching outward into the world around us. Stuff that grows back in upon itself breeds isolation and clogs up the mission with petty things like “my favorite seat” and “I want to be fed this…”; inward thinking is counter-productive to growth.
Some things that are doing well need may need to be cut. Maybe you have two programs that fulfill the same vision. If you cut one, will the other have more room to flourish? If you combine two studies that do the same thing, could you find yourself with twice as many leaders to maximize the impact? Or is there an event that always draws a lot of people, but doesn’t seem to really fit the vision for the ministry? Sometimes it’s OK to have those. But sometimes, if we are bold enough to cut them, we can grow a more purposeful event in its place.

PRUNING ISN’T PERMANENT

Nothing in this world will last forever; not even the changes you make. And as we look at cutting some things and redefining our programs, we can take heart in knowing that things can grow back.
If you cut the wrong thing, you can bring it back later. If you don’t cut enough, there’s always next year. I once cut a camp that our church did on its own in favor of the district winter camp. The district one was great. But so was the one we did on our own. So the next year, it was brought back, and it was stronger than ever.
Pray about pruning some things back. And know that if you get it wrong, there’s always the possibility of regrowth.

What are some tough cuts you’ve had to make? Or are there some things that are standing out that need to go?

]]>

13 Comments

  1. Excellent post, Brian. I think we also need to be able to do pruning with our students, not so much in the sense of kicking students out, but being willing to accept that some go in and out, and hold on to them with a looser grip sometimes. As far as programming, we did pruning this past year of moving our fall retreat to winter, that was a big deal to a lot of our students. We haven't completely gotten rid of too much in the past year, but there has definitely been pruning. How about you?
    • As I was editing, I was thinking about how this would apply to students as well... Especially with the third point. Do we need to stop giving so much leadership to that one or few students, and allow room for some of the less involved students to grow and prosper?
      • Like i shared above, i think we can do both if we are doing our job in making disciples... who then make disciples... who make disciples.
    • Thanks, Ben! Yeah, the student thing totally counts, not in cutting off the student, but in where we put our resources. You can't chase every kid who wanders through your ministry. We have to focus on the students that are there so the ministry can thrive. But if we do our job right, we will be equipping and empowering those we teach to extend and expand the ministry., which will ultimately do a better job of retaining and discipling those students than if we chased them ourselves anyway. On the pruning aspect, we did a bit of pruning by not continuing an event that the previous administration had instituted. We are also pruning out an event/conference that was ok, to allow a more powerful and productive one to grow in its place.
  2. Excellent post, Brian. I think we also need to be able to do pruning with our students, not so much in the sense of kicking students out, but being willing to accept that some go in and out, and hold on to them with a looser grip sometimes. As far as programming, we did pruning this past year of moving our fall retreat to winter, that was a big deal to a lot of our students. We haven't completely gotten rid of too much in the past year, but there has definitely been pruning. How about you?
  3. Excellent post, Brian. I think we also need to be able to do pruning with our students, not so much in the sense of kicking students out, but being willing to accept that some go in and out, and hold on to them with a looser grip sometimes. As far as programming, we did pruning this past year of moving our fall retreat to winter, that was a big deal to a lot of our students. We haven't completely gotten rid of too much in the past year, but there has definitely been pruning. How about you?
    • As I was editing, I was thinking about how this would apply to students as well... Especially with the third point. Do we need to stop giving so much leadership to that one or few students, and allow room for some of the less involved students to grow and prosper?
      • Like i shared above, i think we can do both if we are doing our job in making disciples... who then make disciples... who make disciples.
    • Thanks, Ben! Yeah, the student thing totally counts, not in cutting off the student, but in where we put our resources. You can't chase every kid who wanders through your ministry. We have to focus on the students that are there so the ministry can thrive. But if we do our job right, we will be equipping and empowering those we teach to extend and expand the ministry., which will ultimately do a better job of retaining and discipling those students than if we chased them ourselves anyway. On the pruning aspect, we did a bit of pruning by not continuing an event that the previous administration had instituted. We are also pruning out an event/conference that was ok, to allow a more powerful and productive one to grow in its place.
  4. Mr. Brian, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. Just joshing with you Brian. I really appreciate your thoughts especially about giving a a dying ministry one last hurrah. People need closure and volunteers need to know their efforts weren't in vein. I really believe if we were better about doing this we would have an easier time closing out an old ministry for a new one. Glad you're on the team and I'm looking forward to reading more post from you!
    • Thanks, Josh! Finishing well, including with events and programs that need to go, is too rare. I've found it to be a huge bleeding to me and those around me if I can push hard to finish well; whether that's leaving a position or just doing that event one lady time before we kill it.
  5. Mr. Brian, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. Just joshing with you Brian. I really appreciate your thoughts especially about giving a a dying ministry one last hurrah. People need closure and volunteers need to know their efforts weren't in vein. I really believe if we were better about doing this we would have an easier time closing out an old ministry for a new one. Glad you're on the team and I'm looking forward to reading more post from you!
    • Thanks, Josh! Finishing well, including with events and programs that need to go, is too rare. I've found it to be a huge bleeding to me and those around me if I can push hard to finish well; whether that's leaving a position or just doing that event one lady time before we kill it.

Leave a Reply

Cart

No products in the cart.