Look for Root Causes When You Encounter Ministry Issues

When you encounter a barrier in your ministry, such as lower worship attendance, take a step back to determine what might be causing it.

In debriefing, we often consider ways to increase worship effectiveness, planning, creativity, or invitation. All these are important and can’t hurt, but what if a decrease in attendance is a symptom of something else?

In his book Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, Tod Bolsinger talks about competing values. While we want worship to be great, lower worship attendance may be caused by something else.

The author’s example was a church where people were passing through various life stages. When the church’s leadership pinpointed a specific group of early retirees, they realized this group had moved from their groups and connectedness into no man’s land. Traveling, spending time with grandkids, and enjoying their newfound freedom meant this demographic showed up less and less. Instead of being a worship planning or presentation issue, this was a connectedness issue. These members needed to find their group, stay together, and help motivate each other in their new season of life.

Ministry is difficult because there’s a pot on every burner, and we’re watching them all. We think about discipleship, assimilation, outreach, planning, worship, care, and more. But digging a little deeper beyond the symptoms can give us clues for increasing the overall mission of the ministry.

In what area might you dig deeper the next time you circle with leaders about your ministry?

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. You can get a copy here.