Are you ready for this fall? I’ve come to believe that church life exists in cycles. Annually, church attendance often wanes in the winter months and summer months. Church attendance often blossoms in the spring and fall. In the fall, the new school year begins. Students are beginning a new grade, and life for families is adjusting once again to routines and normalcy following the summer vacation season.
The fall is a great time to begin something new at your church. Maybe you’ve been burdened by ministry need in your area. Maybe you’ve noticed the need for more spiritual depth in your small group ministry. Maybe you sense the need to try something new in one of your church’s program windows (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, other).
Fall is a great time to install a new ministry, program, vision, or plan. So, I ask again, are you ready? We are nearing the end of July. That gives you just over a month of planning, conversations, and preparation to get it done. Here are some questions to consider if you’re starting something new this fall?
- Does my vision, ministry, or program need a soft opening? In other words, should we try it for a couple of weeks to work out the bugs before the publicized start date? Soft openings can be a great way to prepare for adding a second or third worship service especially if it happens to be in a venue at the same time as your main worship service. Making sure things are right when you begin your on your publicized date is wise.
- Who else do I need to share with, talk to, and get on board? I’m not suggesting that you need to ask permission for every idea, vision, or addition that you have. But the more people (primarily key leaders) that are on board and supportive, the better chance something new has to work. If it’s important enough for you to add it at your church, then it should be important enough for you to work it in advance. Take some key leaders to lunch before you start, make some phone calls, and cast vision.
- What does a “win” look like? If you’re like me, sometimes you have great ideas that might not be fully fleshed out. While you don’t have to work out every kink before you begin, you should be clear about what a “win” looks like. Articulating success is a boost to morale. Success for a new Bible study will be different from success in a spiritual transformation emphasis and different from success in a ministry project, and so on. You get the picture. Taking the time to define the “win” before beginning can create confidence during the process and clarity in the evaluation.
There are certainly more questions you could ask and more preparations you can make. These questions might just help you avoid some common mistakes that inhibit success in new ministries.