Sticky situation: when is it time to discontinue a ministry?


Have you ever had to discontinue or end a ministry? What are the signs that it's time? How do you explain to the congregation that something is ending? What if you have a passionate volunteer, but it just doesn't make sense to continue to put other resources behind it (finances, staff time, etc.)?

I feel I should qualify my question by stating that this is purely theoretical at the moment, I'm not actually facing this question. Rather it comes more from the perspective of how to best use a finite number of volunteers and ministry funds. Say we want to "make room" for new ministries, but it's just not possible to do it all. What gives?

Our church is newer (~12 years) so I'm interested in what people who have experienced or observed this have to say.

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This is not an easy task, but it is necessary at times. First, each ministry should have stated goals that are in writing. Some ministries die out and are ineffective. Rerduce number of ministries by combining where possible. Work with those who are passionate about a ministry by helping them to state attainable goals. Then give six months or so to pray diligently for that ministry and with those involved in it. After the specified time period meet with the ministry leaders and discuss the reaslities of where they are at vs. stated (attainable) goals. When the handwriting is on  the wall, most are willing to make the changes necessary or discontinue the ministry. Avoid long term committees and go for task oriented  committees. When the task is complete, their time and resources are not wasted on monthly meetings that people lose interest in. Most people are more willing to serve when they feel needed and see goals being accomplished. Encouraging volunteers regularly and allowing as much freedom as possible in their task is usually quite beneficial for all concerned. Prayer is the key to discernment. Hope that is helpful, but feel free to ask more questions.