In order to understand how business leaders can be driven away from your church, you need to understand how they think.
The way you build a business is by discovering people’s problems, and solving them. A good business leader solves a lot of people’s problems quickly and becomes wealthy doing so. Financially speaking, they can do whatever they want, except that they have one limitation: time. Because they are good at what they do, people are always begging for it. Therefore, time, not money, is their most valuable asset. Wasting an hour for a wealthy leader is like wasting $1000 for a middle class person.
It is my experience that most churches are chronic time wasters. I’m going to list the top three so you can take care to avoid them, but before I do, notice I am not listing worship. God deserves worship, and it is worth every second. Nor am I mentioning sermon length — if it’s good, they will value it. I have sat through hour long sermons that felt like 15 minutes. The factors I am listing are those that waste time due to poor planning.
Hold Meaningless Meetings
Yes. We need meetings in our churches. Yet, how many are actually worth the time of those who attend? I have sat through board meetings where we debated the font of a graphic used on Sunday morning for two-hours. I have sat through three-hour long small group leader trainings with 15 minutes of solid content. If you do this regularly to marketplace leaders they will not be back. Why? It’s not worth their time. Really, most church meetings aren’t worth anyone’s time. Either learn how to plan them, or don’t have them. A well planned meeting can breath life into your church, but it takes effort.
Allow Long Announcements
In many churches I attend, announcements are 15 minute ramble-a-thons. You know who is responsible for these? It’s not the long-winded person on the stage. It’s the senior pastor who allows it to go on week after week. A typical TV commercial is 15-30 seconds. That means you can have six in three-minutes.
If you want to cut long-windedness out, give the announcer three minutes, and time them. Encourage them to write it out and practice. Or, just use video announcements. These can be outsourced fairly economically. http://provideoannouncements.com
Not Do Sermon Prep
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard pastors get on a stage to speak to 500 people and say, “I really didn’t have time to prepare this week.” You didn’t have time? Your job is to make time. If you didn’t have time, it’s because you made bad decisions. Honestly, it bothers me.
What do you think a person who works 60-70 hours a week, oversees a 200 employee corporation, and tithes to pay half your salary thinks when they hear that? Sure, there are one or two weeks out of the year where you might have an emergency to deal with. Yet, if you do this chronically, you will drive leaders away to churches that value their time.
I know, everyone prepares differently. But you know when you have done your job and when you haven’t. So does everyone else in the congregation. God has entrusted you to preach His word. Do it well.
Are you guilty of any of these? What would it take to stop them this week? Are you going to?