A Christmas event. A musical program. A mission activity. A community festival. A church often becomes associated with one major event that not only defines it in the community but becomes the emphasis that drives everything else. This annual event becomes the defining feature of the church. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
When a church is healthy and has a diversity of ministries, a signature event may become only one of a number of ways the church engages the community. The church has the capacity—human, time, and financial resources—to do something and to do it well without impacting other core ministries such as worship, pastoral care, Christian formation, and community ministry.
When a church has very limited resources, the “main event” may become the “tail that wags the dog.” The few resources that are available are reallocated away from the core ministries so that the signature event can go on.
Here are the questions raised:
- It is important that a church do a few things and do them well, but what happens when the church decides that everything else must become secondary so that one activity can take place?
- What happens when the big event outlives its usefulness and no one is willing to step up and say so? Just because we have always done it this way doesn’t mean that we should continue to do so.
- When conducting the main event becomes a priority and a church has limited resources, what will the church give up to continue it? Will this cause the church to be more selective about those it seeks to bring into the congregation? What suffers in this situation?