Building Rhythm Into the Life of Your Church

by | Oct 5, 2023 | Articles About Church

Ministry is a marathon. This is true for church leaders, for volunteers, and for the church body itself.

When we drive and push people to sprint all the time, burnout is inevitable, especially among staff and volunteers.

You can grow a large church by constantly creating mountain peak experiences and pushing for the top. But you will create a healthy church only as you discover the appropriate cycle of moving forward with rhythm.

There is plenty of discussion about whether churches should be all things to all people, or keep it simple and do a few things well. I definitely lean toward simplicity. I think it’s good to balance the five purposes of worship, evangelism (mission), fellowship, discipleship, and ministry (serving people) and little else. The less hierarchy, the more leaders are free to lead without being micromanaged.

So how do you discover your church’s healthy rhythm? Here are some ideas.

1. Focus on five or six peak moments in the year.

Start with the holidays like Easter and Christmas. Then think through any special emphases your church celebrates such as a spiritual growth campaign, a missions emphasis, or something like a Friend Day.  Don’t forget about the non-Sunday events like Vacation Bible School or evangelistic crusades.

Use these moments as special challenges to members to invite others. Obviously, you want people to always be inviting, but special moments like these create an out-of-the-ordinary chance to do so.

2. Build unity and excitement as you climb toward peak moments.

Spread the word with a gathering momentum. Give people specific challenges and calls to action along the way such as, “Write down the names of three people you’re going to invite…” or “Fast with us through lunch on Wednesdays and pray for the big day.”

3. Celebrate the big wins as a church family.

I don’t believe there should be an undue emphasis on numbers. Having a lot of people show up is not a sign that the Spirit has been at work drawing people to Jesus, but I do know that people who love their church want to see it grow and they get excited when it does, so celebrate it!

4. Take breaks from busyness.

A full calendar costs a lot in terms of energy, but it doesn’t necessarily increase the quality of community life that people experience. Give attention to the weekend service, small groups, and the various outreach efforts happening as memers live missionally. But in terms of promotion and pushing for a big turnout, back off after a big day.

5. Strengthen the ongoing ministries between the special moments.

This is what matters long term. High-attendance Sundays are great, but what really matters is that you’re developing disciples, pouring into leaders, strengthening systems, and creating a healthy culture of faith and humility along the way.

6. Cut away the good distractions.

There is tremendous power in concentrating on the mission and eliminating distractions. If a program trips you up on your way to fulfilling our mission, eliminate it. There are plenty of good things churches can be involved in, but for every church, there are some best things we can be devoting our energy to, and it varies from one church to the next.

7. Spread the leadership load around.

When I lived in southern California, I would often see large groups of cyclists riding together. The one in front was fighting wind resistance and making the ride easier for the rest of the pack, but when the leader gets tired, he drops to the back and lets someone else lead. It’s called “drafting” and it’s important in the life of the church.

Counting on the same few people to take the load on every major event leads to burnout.

Some moments in the life of the church ought to stand out from the rest as especially significant, but between these, we need to breathe, rest, and recuperate. We’ve been working on the mission for a couple thousand years now, so there’s a bigger picture at stake than just next Sunday. If you’re a church leader, it’s up to you to discover the rhythm of your church and align with it. People will thank you in the end.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

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