Ecclesiastes 3 is a familiar reminder that there is a season for everything — including a season to give birth and a season to die. While you’ve probably never used this verse in a ministry context, it’s much easier to birth new programs, new ideas, new studies and new events rather than allow something in your ministry to die.
But, consider death for a moment. I don’t know when you last attended a funeral, but death can be a moment of clarity. It is a time to celebrate the life of the person who is no longer present, but it is also a time to contemplate how you will spend the remaining days you have left on earth.
In the same way, evaluating your women’s ministry may include a thorough assessment of what needs to be birthed and what might need to die. For example, if you’ve had the same event for 20 years and your attendance continues to decline, you have two choices to make — either resurrect the event with new life or let it die.
How do you know when the life cycle of something in your ministry is over? Here are markers that indicate you need to revamp what you are doing or let something die.
- The attendance continues to decline. Numbers aren’t everything, but they are a good indicator of whether something is working. If you see a steady decline, consider whether it is fulfilling its purpose in the overall scheme of your ministry.
- The same women are participating. If the same women come time and time again without drawing new ones, you must ask whether it is effective.
- You aren’t engaging a variety of generations. If something in your ministry is geared specifically to one generation, this rule may not apply. But there should be many things in your ministry that draws a variety of ages and stages of life.
- You are filling up the calendar with lots of options and not doing one thing well. We tend to want to “add” things to our plates, but we never consider that something needs to be taken off.
- You aren’t getting support from leadership. Take time to see whether your ministry lines up with the direction of your pastor, the church mission statement and its purpose.
- It doesn’t line up with your ministry purpose. If you have a purpose statement, take a hard look at whether the activity matches up with the purpose. Are you having an event just to have an event? Ask, “Why are we doing this”? If it’s not pointing women into the bigger picture of their walk with the Lord or getting them connected into the life of your church, it might be time to say goodbye.
Once you’ve determined whether something needs to die, consider how you will say goodbye. Just like a funeral, celebrate the past and honor the impact the ministry once had. You may have to grieve the loss of what was once a good thing, but you can also anticipate the birth of something new.