Chasing Cool & Appeasing Church Members


This past Christmas, I did something many parents have done. We got a dog.

In many cases, this decision makes a family happy – but for us, it ended up being a regret. After multiple years of being asked by our children, I caved. It wasn’t without thought. I did my research. I chose wisely. But no amount of research or careful selection changed what I knew in my gut…a dog was not right for our family at that stage of life.

So less than 28 hours after bringing the dog home, we took him back –and all the supplies we’d purchased for him. It was not a “dad of the year” moment.

I’ve done and seen a similar thing in church ministry.

Incessant clamoring for a new ministry. “It’s the right ministry for our church.” “It will change lives.” “I’ll own it. I’ll find the volunteers. We don’t need budget money, we just need the space.”

And in response, someone in charge caves. They acquiesce. They say yes to wanting to be cool, or trendy – or they simply want the incessant asking to cease (albeit with a gnawing check in their spirit about its validity or rightness for the church).

Returning a dog is not the easiest task (all four of my children cried [even the two who were terrified of the dog]). But a less easy task is killing off a ministry. Even if it’s a ministry that proved it doesn’t belong. There’s always somebody emotionally connected. You can’t just take a ministry back to a pet shop and shamefully hand over the leash.

Ultimately, as a dad, I should’ve known better. It was my responsibility to make the best choice for my family. I was in the best position to see the ramifications of the dog-gone decision.

And as a church leader, you‘re typically the best person to make the call for your department, or your ministry team. You should be able to step away from the incessant noise, and forecast what the future of the ministry means for you and the church. Ultimately, the experience you’ve gained, and the prayer you put into making a decision should give you the best decision-making ability.

People will always be passionate about their ministry ideas. But you’re the person who can look over the whole landscape and determine if it’s the best ministry to begin at your church, at that time.

Some ideas you’ll say “yes” to. Some “no.” But in either case, you’ll have to get over not being popular with all your church members.

Our 28-hour dog was messy, excitable, and made my house and clothes instantly smell like… well, dog. He jumped on my one-year and three-year-old, which created a fearful reaction. I knew all this was coming. Yet I was tired of being asked, and I had a desire to make my kids happy. I caved. And ultimately, it was a regret – and it added unnecessary chaos to my home.

Don’t do this to your church. Have the courage to lead well and make the hard decision on the front end. As the Church, we have far too many important things to be engaged in other than un-doing a ministry we should’ve never started in the first place.



Get Posts Delivered to Your Inbox

Join my mailing list to receive all my blog posts in your inbox and other special subscriber-only content.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Leave a Reply