Six Keys to Being a Scrappy Church

By on January 5, 2012

Due to the great recession, American churches are being asked to get more done with a lot less resources in hand.  While we all hope for a recovery, it’s clear than very little is going to change in the next few months so it’s time for churches to get good at getting scrappy.

Of course, this is nothing new.  All through the Bible we see God asking people to get scrappy and move forward in faith with only what they had in hand.

Six keys to getting more done with less…

1.  Use Free Resources

I think many pastors feel a certain pressure to be original in everything, especially series graphics.  It’s as if you’re somehow second rate if you use series elements from another church.  In these lean times, however, it’s wise and just smart stewardship to use some of these high quality, amazing, and FREE resources.  (Check out this list for more help.)


2.  Have Less Meetings

While some meetings are good and necessary, most are complete wastes of time.  In fact, I would argue that 99.9% of staff and volunteer meetings in most churches are pointless and could be handled online (with services like Base Camp) or via email.

It takes courage to admit this truth about meetings and start axing them but it’s essential to eliminate all energy drains like this from your staff and volunteers so that more important efforts can be maximized.

If you need to be convinced about the need to kill most meetings or if you just need a swift kick in the pants to get you moving on this, I highly recommend the book, Rework. (Hardcover/Kindle)


3.  Get More Done with Volunteers

The bottom line is that there are always going to be far more ministry opportunities than you’re going to be able to handle via staff.

You’ll never be able to afford to hire enough staff to do everything.  In today’s economic climate this is ever more true.  Therefore, you’ve got to excel in recruiting, training, and empowering volunteers to take over more and more of the work of the church.  In fact, you’ve got to give key volunteers control of portions of the ministry that have historically gone to staff members.

For more thoughts on this, see Bill Hybel’s outstanding book, The Volunteer Revolution. (Hardcover/Kindle)


4.  Cheat a Lot

The word cheat gets a bad rap.  If that offends you, let’s use the word hack instead.  You’ve got to find new and better ways to get things done.  You’re going to have to hack the system to maximize your return on energy and effort invested.

For instance, perhaps due to printing costs a standardized program/bulletin makes more sense now rather than redesigning one for each series.  Or, maybe the program itself is passe and it’s time to drop it completely.

I have no idea what you need to cheat or hack but it’s time to reevaluate everything you’re doing in light of what the trust costs and benefits are.


5.  Ask for Favors

You’d be amazed at the kind of help you can get if you just ask.  It’s time to start asking pastors you know, as well as those you don’t know, for favors.

Whatever program, series, or system you’re considering launching in the coming weeks and months has probably already been done by someone else.  Odds are that they’ll be willing to help you with resources and advice too.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Ask for help.  Ask for favors.


6.  Up Personal and Corporate Prayer

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6b (NIV)

Let’s face it.  We just need God’s help.  We must rally personal and corporate pray in bold new ways.  We must ask God to bless and guide and direct our efforts.

 What other factors do you think are important in being a scrappy church?


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