It’s time to throw out your church’s calendar
Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Your church may be too busy.

Indeed your church calendar may be so full you have rendered much of the activity of the members ineffective. It’s time to start fresh.

I am proposing you dump everything on your church calendar. Okay, I’m not serious. But I am serious about your hypothetically cleaning the calendar. Let me give you my argument in a few bullet points:

  • Most churches have too many activities and programs and ministries for their members. Indeed most of their members are too busy to do ministry in the real world.
  • Over the years, those churches have added many things to the calendar without subtracting many or any. Those churches have a bloated calendar.
  • Attempt this exercise. Start with a blank calendar. We call that zero-based church scheduling. For now, it’s only a hypothetical exercise.
  • Now, fill in the calendar with only those activities you feel will really move the church forward. Keep it simple. Keep it basic.
  • Look at those activities that didn’t make the cut. See if the church is ready to reduce or eliminate the commitment to them. If not, you can make certain you don’t invest more money or time in the activity.
  • If you do this every year, your leadership will become more and more aware of how precious the resource of time is for your members. They will become more cautious before adding even more stress or activities to your members.

In too many of our churches, we have become so busy doing activities, our members have little or no time to do real ministry outside the walls of the church.

We need effective churches, not busy churches.

We need simple churches, not complex churches.

As you move into a new year, consider your church calendar. Be willing to consider reducing or eliminating those activities that lead to busyness but not effectiveness.

It could be the best New Year’s resolution you make.


This article was originally published at on December 20. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at

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