Cutting church programmes. Yeah. It’s something we’ve been talking about a lot at my church. Here’re some thoughts to get you… well, thinking.

What’s a good night to do dinner?

“Hey John! We should do dinner sometime! What’s a good night?”

“Well, Monday night is Bible Institute. Tuesday I help out with youth group. Of course there’s prayer meeting on Wednesday night. Thursday is our family night. There’s a fellowship night on Friday and of course Saturday soul winning. Maybe we should try for Sunday… er… well, what about next week?”

If this scenario is familiar to you, you just might go to any one of the thousands of modern day churches that have a schedule jam packed with programmes… and little to show for it.

Are the programmes working?

In his book Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley says this about church programmes:

Over the course of a year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on programming and weekly services. All of this is done under the banner of “making disciples” or “transforming lives.” But the truth is that there is very little to show for all the meetings, messages, and mothers’ mornings out. The church is making far more dinners than disciples. [72, emphasis added]

Is it possible that the programmes are keeping us too busy to do what really matters? We have the greatest impact on those we have influence with and influence comes from relationship. And relationship is built by spending time with people. If our goal is to build relationships both with the believers and with the lost, then we’re going to have to have a few evenings a week to spend some time with people. Discipleship and evangelism are dependent on it. In other words, the guy who is “less spiritual” because he doesn’t show up to this or that church event may actually be more effective in accomplishing the great commission (which is to win them and mature them).

Granted some of these church programmes really are helping to mature the believers, but I’ll argue that nothing can ever replace hanging out with a mate over a cup of coffee or a fishing line. That’s how normal people interact in our culture and we are to work within the context of our culture in winning and maturing people (that’s another post in itself).

Cutting Kids Klub?!!

So the problem arises, which programmes do we cut? Kids Club? (“Don’t you care about the little kids?!”) Soul winning? (“And you call yourself a Christian?!”) It’s an interesting dilemma and one I’ll try to tackle next week. In the mean time, feel free to throw in your bit in comments.

Grace to you.

this is part 1 of 3 in the series
Church programmes

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About Jason Harris

Dr Jason Harris is a writer, pastor, and academic. He has authored multiple books, articles, and papers including his book Theological Meditations on the Gospel. Jason has a PhD from James Cook University as well as degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research. Jason has lived in Cairns, Australia since 2007 and serves as pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at


  1. Steven Mock 29 October, 2008 at 7:12 am - Reply


    I want a shirt!!! How can I get one?

  2. joy mccarnan 18 November, 2008 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    LOL. Did you ever think of him as a non-emotional guy?

  3. joy mccarnan 18 November, 2008 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    (that omitted portion was a quote of your mention that Fireproof even got Bob Bixby emotional. =} )

  4. Jason Harris 18 November, 2008 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    lol… I suppose I think of him as a non-sentimental guy… how’s that? =P

    Seriously, if Bob thinks it’s cool, it’s probably cool.

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