5 Reasons You Need to Stop Feeding Your Church’s Dragons

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Originally posted June 17, 2013

How much time, energy and money do you spend feeding the dragons in your church?

I’m not talking about apocalyptic imagery from Revelation.

I’m talking about one of the biggest reasons your church may be struggling to gain traction.

I define a dragon as “An institutionalized drain on resources”.

Yes, believe it or not, there may be elements in your church which could be devouring resources…and which have been intentionally created by you, your team, or leadership predecessors.

These elements not only fail to move your church forward, they draw so many resources out of your church they can actually prevent you from moving ahead.

Examples of these dragons include:

  • The mortgage on a building that no longer suits your needs,
  • The ministry or program which continues to exist despite no longer aligning with your vision,
  • The staff person whose development has not kept pace with the growing demands of the ministry,
  • The tradition that is completely out of touch with your present reality.

You get the idea.

These are all dragons that must be fed.

You can either keep feeding them, or you can pay attention to these 5 reasons you need to slay your dragons.

If you don’t slay them:

1.   It could be hard to recruit top leaders

Leaders can tell when a church is “top-heavy” with this kind of baggage

2.   Donor fatigue could set in

Donors want to see forward motion

3.   Staff could be de-motivated

Who wants to devote their time and talent to something increasingly outdated?

4.   Lethargy could settle into your congregation

A “here we go again” culture can quickly develop

5.   You could find yourself at risk of burnout

Burnout doesn’t come from working hard. It comes from working hard and not producing results

None of this is to say that buildings are bad or that traditions should be avoided.

But you need to ruthlessly examine the flow of resources for which you are accountable, and identify those which are moving your church forward, and those which are merely dragon-feeders.

Consider placing this at the top of your agenda for your next lead team or board retreat. Ask your key leaders, “What are the dragons in our church…and why are we feeding them?”

Because if you want to move your church forward, you might need to slay a few of these.

What are the dragons in your church?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Willow Creek Association. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave & Willow and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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