What “sacred cows” has your church or ministry decided to give up?

Has your church or ministry ever had to make the difficult decision to give up a “sacred cow”? After running the numbers, praying about it, and discussing it with the community, have you ever had to put an end to an activity, event, or practice that you’d been doing “since forever”?

For Adam McLane at Youth Ministry Exchange, that sacred cow was youth retreats, a longstanding and beloved tradition that, upon careful reflection, just didn’t make sense for their ministry to keep doing. Here’s his closing challenge; if you’re not a youth pastor, replace “retreat” with any other activity in your church and see if it holds up to scrutiny:

It’s easy to get caught up in a sacred cow syndrome. It’s easy to get caught up in doing something just a little different and a little better than the year before. It’s easy to go with the flow. It’s easy to do something simply because you’ve budgeted for it. It’s easy to keep doing retreats.

But have you been able to measure their effectiveness over the past several months? Have you noticed it getting a little harder to fill the roster each year? Have you had a fluke or two? Have you wondered if they were worth all the trouble? Have you asked students why they are coming?

Please don’t read this as a vilification of retreats or retreat ministry. It is hardly that. All I am simply asking you to do is be open to rethinking how retreats fit into your philosophy of ministry. And if you find that they are ineffective or putting pressure on your students artificially are you willing to take a break? Are you willing to retreat from the “must do” retreat mindset?

Read the full post at Youth Ministry Exchange.

What about you? Have you ever been in the difficult position of having to put an end to a ministry “sacred cow”? How did you reach that decision, and in retrospect, was it the right decision to make?

What do you think?

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