It’s Time for Your Church to Quit: 30 Ways to Be a Quitter

It’s Time for Your Church to Quit: 30 Ways to Be a Quitter

August 17, 2015 by

That's How We've Always Done It: Is Your Church Ready to Quit? 166 Ways to Be a QuitterWe’ve joined the ranks of quitters this month. Every Thursday Bob Goff quits something as a way to shake things up. It’s a chance to create margin and reevaluate your sacred cows.

What can your church quit?

We’ve got 30 ideas to get you started.

Quit saying you welcome everyone when you don’t.

Quit at Your Own Risk

When Bob Goff quits something on Thursday, it doesn’t mean you need to quit it too. Not every idea applies to every church. What you need to quit is unique to your church.

One church might need to quit hymns. They need some songs written in the last hundred years.

But another church could use a few hymns. They need to quit Chris Tomlin.

One church might need to quit Facebook. They’re horrible at it, and it’s doing more harm than good. Shut it down.

But another church could use Facebook. They need to quit the print newsletter and go where the people are.

Quit what applies to you. But don’t use the excuse that your church can ignore something because it really applies to the church down the street. Let’s quit the excuses.

30 Things Our Churches Should Quit:

  1. Quit sending crappy emails. Use a real email service. (Repeat after me: “BCC is not for me.”) Pay attention to the stats. Craft your subject lines. Send content that’s actually important. Learn how to do email marketing.
  2. Quit outsourcing evangelism. The Great Commission is everyone’s job. It should be part of the entire life of your church, not something you leave to a staff member, missionary or ministry.
  3. Quit following the same order of worship week after week after week. Structure is good, but boring is bad. Shake it up a little to keep it interesting. Even churches that use liturgy can change. Some churches use liturgy from around the world to keep it familiar but fresh.
  4. Quit doing stuff without a strategy. That feeling like you’re not getting anywhere, like you have no traction? It’s because you’re just spinning your wheels. You have no strategy. Get one.
  5. Quit treating your designer like a print shop. Respect their creativity, don’t just boss them around. They are professionals, and you should learn how to work with them.
  6. Quit worrying about food and drink in the sanctuary. Coffee spills, but life goes on. Try being more hospitable, and quit projecting your worship preferences on other people.
  7. Quit printing member directories. Do the kids even know what a directory is? Try offering an online member directory
  8. Quit the committees. How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb? I don’t know—let’s form a committee. Spend less time in meetings about ministry and more time actually doing ministry.
  9. Quit acting like Wi-Fi is a gluttonous amenity. No, you’re not a Starbucks, but you do want people to actually share your church online with their friends, right? Make wireless Internet part of the budget and available to everyone.
  10. Quit doing video announcements. Your over-produced, gimmicky videos aren’t as funny as you think they are. Put an ordinary person on stage to share from their heart. Less polished, but more human.
  11. Quit the rambling announcements. OK, maybe video is too polished, but the volunteer with a deep-seated fear of public speaking is too far in the other direction. Announcements should be practiced and professional. If someone can’t take 20 minutes to practice an announcement, they shouldn’t be up there.
  12. Quit expecting visitors to magically feel welcome. You need to purposefully create a process to train your staff, volunteers and people in the pews to welcome guests. We’ve got a little book that can help.
  13. Quit using Comic Sans. Unless you’re a church for clowns.
  14. Quit thinking online giving is an instant fix. Just because you put your “online giving” link on the right side of your webpage does not mean people will click on it. You need a little more strategy than that. Have you thought about mobile giving?
  15. Quit celebrating marriage and kids as the only viable path in life. Paul told us marriage can be a distraction. Jesus had a pretty successful ministry as a childless bachelor. Stop relegating people to a singles ministry that’s really a dating service.
  16. Quit treating the church database as an IT issue. It’s an under-utilized resource. You should be integrating with it, finding ways to improve and protect it.
  17. Quit trying to be trendy. You’re not.
  18. Quit being so old fashioned. Yes, we get it. You’re not going to bow to the hipsters or try any innovations from the last 100 years. But sometimes change isn’t bad. Once upon a time pews, organs and the King James Version were cutting edge.
  19. Quit ignoring typos. Seriously, buy a dictionary, get a proofreader, take a minute to read something before hitting print. The church has far too many typos, and it needs to stop.
  20. Quit that ministry. Not every church needs a men’s ministry. VBS isn’t the only way to minister to kids. Choir is not biblically mandated (or it is in the KJV?). There’s nothing wrong with these ministries, and they might be doing good things. But your church can’t do everything that’s good. Sometimes you need to quit something good to do something better.
  21. Quit saying you welcome everyone when you don’t. People are tired of the hypocrisy of the church. When the pastor preaches love but the congregation offers a cold shoulder to “unacceptable” sinners (or worse, someone who took your seat), you’re not getting the message.
  22. Quit writing long web content. Nobody’s going to read that much. Cut your web copy in half.
  23. Quit clinging to your way. You only want to sing hymns. You want to wear flip-flops. You can’t stand projectors. You think a sermon must have video clips. Guess what? Church is not about you. Get over it.
  24. Quit assuming people will just show up. They won’t. They’ve got better things to do on a Sunday morning. Communities are growing while churches are shrinking.
  25. Quit delivering baked goods to visitors. Yes, delivering home-baked goodies to the door of first-time guests is an incredible tradition that makes a powerful first impression. Wow, hats off. It’s also a big drain on volunteers. Plus, in these gluten-free, allergy obsessed days, home-baked goods are losing the wow factor. Maybe consider a small gift at an information table instead.
  26. Quit whining about the lack of help. Recruit some volunteers. Bring on an intern. Get the people you need, and get back to work.
  27. Quit giving device users the evil eye. You don’t know whether someone is using their phone to follow the Scripture reading and tweet the sermon or check their email. You have no control over it, so why not encourage people to use their devices in positive ways and then leave it up to them?
  28. Quit dumping on yourself. You’re a rock star.
  29. Quit putting off self improvement. That elusive “someday” is not going to come until you make it. Figure out what you need. Maybe it’s an event you need to attend, a class you need to sign up for or even just a book you need to read. Then make it happen.
  30. Quit the denomination wars. The pope is not evil. Liturgy is not brainwashing. Video screens are not the devil’s windows. Grape juice vs. wine, sprinkling vs. dunking, ties vs. collars. Do we hear ourselves? Can’t we just agree on Jesus and not battle to the death on the other stuff?

What does your church need to quit?

That's How We've Always Done It: Is Your Church Ready to Quit? 166 Ways to Be a QuitterMore:

(Thanks to Katy Dunigan, Rich Kirkpatrick, Mark MacDonald, Karen Shay-Kubiak & Erin Williams for the ideas.)

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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7 Responses to “It’s Time for Your Church to Quit: 30 Ways to Be a Quitter”

  • James
    August 17, 2015


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  • Meredith Gould
    August 21, 2015

    Too too fabulous. (Imagine this typed in Comic Sans)

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  • Paul Johnson
    August 21, 2015

    Quit ignoring making available one on one prayer and ministry to everyone who comes to church
    Quit ignoring teaching strategic daily living in God’s power and authority
    Quit operating without expecting the supernatural and improbable
    Quit avoiding teaching all to continually seek and operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
    Quite ignoring teaching how to better experience God through His Word, His voice, His creation, His presence, and His community
    Quit creating barriers and gate keepers to pathways of starting new ministries and accountability groups
    Quit avoiding seeking, recognizing, and raising up bold lay leaders

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    • rusaved
      January 2, 2016


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  • Melissa Andrews
    August 21, 2015

    No more Comic Sans!!! Lol. Quit saying you welcome everyone when you don’t! These were fabulous!!

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  • Linda Barrett
    August 22, 2015

    Awe inspiring

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  • Neal F. Fischer
    August 27, 2015

    So, if you say you are accepting of all… Does that mean you will accept Comic Sans users too? (evil grin)

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