Every so often, a parish must re-evaluate its offering of ministries or programs to see if it’s serving its original purpose, or if parishioners are still actively engaged. Sometimes, if you find that a particular group has dwindling involvement or isn’t otherwise as active, it may be time to cut that ministry back.
You can start by considering the steps you would normally take to begin a ministry in your church, and reverse engineer them to evaluate the status of your current ministry. Here are some ways to do that:
Is the Ministry Still Serving a True Need?
This requires an honest look at the ministry in question. Is the need real or imagined? How broad is the interest among parishioners? Is it a cause the church can serve?
If interest or support of a certain ministry is waning, it may be best to consider if there’s another, more popular ministry that could take over the cause or responsibilities and draw more participants or resources. This can be a difficult step to take and requires objectivity on the part of the leadership.
Does the Ministry Align with Church Strategy?
Does your ministry fit in with the goals to the church? Is the group competing with others for resources and money?
If your parish doesn’t already have one, a ministry plan that is clear about values, mission, strategy, etc., would be helpful to have. Such a plan would make it easier to see which ministries are positive additions to the church’s offerings and which are inefficient or siphoning resources.
Is There Effective Leadership?
Look at the person or people who lead the ministry. Consider that those who have the passion to start a group or project may not have the same passion to sustain or maintain it. A ministry needs both the visionary people who specialize in inspiration, as well as pragmatic ones who are better at the “business” side of things and make the big ideas happen.
This may be a stumbling block with a struggling ministry. Is there a ministry with different leadership that could help with the same goals or causes? Perhaps there is a different way to meet that need.
Was the Original Plan Effective?
Is the ministry meeting its original objectives in goals? What about the way the ministry works? Go back to the ministry plan. If you find that the ministry in question is not functioning in the most efficient way, that’s the first clue it might not be working well as a whole and needs to change — or perhaps disband altogether.
Prepare to Prune
Once you’ve discerned the future of the ministry, it’s time to “prune.” There are several ways to approach this. There could be some pushback and hurt feelings during this process, but going through it and making those difficult choices will ultimately lead to stronger parishes that allow resources to be used more effectively.
Has your parish had to do this in the past? How did they approach it? Let us know below!