God's love endures. But why must the Annual Women's Ministry Pig Roast endure?
God's grace endures. But why must the 10am Thursday Bible Study endure?
God's wisdom endures. But why must the monthly trip to the soup kitchen endure?
Endurance is overrated in congregations. Maybe because belief in a God with enduring qualities creates a desire for people in a congregation believe that their ministry should endure forever.
I'm not saying that fellowship, Bible study, and serving neighbor are not important, but that endurance in congregational life is often lifted above everything else. Ministry needs to be evaluated, and people need to be given permission to let go, or at least give away leadership.
I'm a little melancholy that two of my favorite television shows are going off the air this season. I find great story telling, writing and acting on Big Love and Friday Night Lights. These shows have lasted about five seasons, and they will not jump the shark. The shows will end with me wanting more and being energized about new opportunities to learn from new stories in the future, instead of being disillusioned with what used to be and where it is now.
Do congregational ministries often jump the shark because of the attachment to endurance? Would ministry be better served putting a particular program to rest, then re-start, re-focus and re-energize working toward a shared value, such as education, fellowship, or serving the neighbor? Do some of your endurance ministries end in disillusionment because of over attachment to endurance itself? I often return to a favorite proverb: be clear about the ends, and flexible about the means. Ministries are usually formed because passionate people responded to a calling to meet a need, use their gifts, act upon values. That passion serves people, and many lives are affected in a positive way. Rather than lament that endurance failed, give thanks for the lives that were impacted.