Do you know The Accessories Rule from Coco Chanel? “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” She was talking about removing a single piece of jewelry or a scarf. Too much is too much. Focus on one signature piece. Or focus on a couple key pieces. And then go!
Yesterday at an inspiring Pastor Installation Service for one of my colleagues, the preacher suggested taking similar advice from Tom Bandy only this advice is about church programming:
Take at least one thing off your congregation’s program calendar this year. (Actually Bandy said we should remove two things from our church program calendars, but I’m trying to be gentle with folks who tremble at the thought of changing one thing much less two.)
Most churches are not only stuck; we are okay with being stuck. Here’s a simple (but not-so-simple) way to give your congregation a little jolt:
Take one big thing off your church’s schedule this year. How to decide?
- What program does everybody hate – except for the person or few people who are in charge of it every year?
- What program has no significant spiritual impact but is very labor intensive?
- What program is hard to staff with volunteers (because nobody wants to do it)?
- What program do we do merely because we’ve been doing it every year for over 20 years and we think the neighbors would miss it? (Maybe they won’t.)
- What program do we believe we have to do because we are not a church without it? (Example: Sunday morning Sunday school.)
What if we got rid of it for one year. Just one year. And instead do something a little crazy. (Like Sunday School on Wednesday nights or a BBQ dinner at a homeless shelter instead of in our own kitchen just for us?)
What would be the hardest to give up (and does this mean it’s become an idol?) What would be the easiest to give up (because – really – everybody dreads it?)
What if we focused on a single signature program? Or a couple of key programs? And we took off the other ones?
And then go!
[Yes, Coco is still wearing at least six pieces of jewelry here, but she probably started with seven.]