There Isn’t a Perfect Church Formula

I have found that I am often looking for something impossible to find when it comes to ministry. I’m looking for the perfect church formula.

I can get the whiteboard out. I can ideate like the rest of them. But sometimes I am looking for something that is out of reach.

It is easy to look at what happens with other congregations and think, “What are they doing that is working?” While it is great to learn from others, it is a dangerous trend to pivot continually to find the right solution. The right solution in one place does not mean it is guaranteed to work in your situation.

Too many churches and ministries have a continual jumping of sorts to every new idea that comes around.

I see it in every tribe. I witness it in churches of all sizes and systems.

  • A new strategy comes along with every new book that is trending in church circles.
  • A new idea comes along after the latest conference attendance.
  • A new shift happens due to hearing the success of someone down the road or down the internet.

We are so eager to cut bait of what is working steadily for something we hear that is seeing success somewhere else quickly. It’s not healthy. And every type of growth cannot be replicated.

I know you want to find the perfect formula. I do too. But guess what? It’s not out there. You can have an ideal scenario in your mind, but we will never find it perfectly.

Instead of living out of this idealistic desire for this perfect scenario, why don’t we take steps to get there?

Our obstacles are ourselves.

In ministry, we have spent so much time belaboring what should be that we are not addressing what is. We have let budgets, bodies, busyness, etc. dictate how well we are doing.

As leaders, we spend numerous months of discussions on all manner of subjects, and then rarely ever see the resolutions. So much time has been spent arguing over unnecessary controversies (Titus 3:8) and we allow the cart to dictate the horse far too often.

I am sure we can all do better leading God’s people, but I am not sure that we can all find that perfect formula, especially by cherry-picking on the ideas of others.

We often look at the successes of other ministries and attempt to copy and paste it into our own contexts. God doesn’t want you to replicate His work from another place; He has called your church to accomplish something specific.

Get your head in the Bible. Get your strategies in prayer. Do the long work of discipleship. Learn from others, but don’t try to replicate their success in your strategy.