Make Church Fun Again

Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 72

Many would agree that, overall, 2020 was not fun.  Most would even agree that they’re pretty worn out even joking about how rough 2020 was in every facet of life.  But, what if we saw the trials and struggles of 2020 as a kickstart to rethink how we approach everything we do?

Despite being forced into change, many churches are still trying to do the same things they have always done.  This is a direct symptom of too many ministers not having fun doing what they get to do.  Too many churches are not having fun with the mission God has given them.

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We’ve all seen and been a part of churches who have done the same thing, the same way, with the same/dwindling results, and it gets frustrating and discouraging, which leads to “church work” being daunting and boring.  We get caught in a comfortable rhythm.  Over time, a rhythm can become something that takes more than it gives. Sustaining that rhythm can just become things you have to do.

What if we broke the rhythm a little and made church fun again?  Church work, church communities, church ministries, church staff, and the mission of the church is fun.  We should actively live out that fun! Here are two keys to making church fun again and bringing joy back into ministry.

“Have-To” vs. “Get-To”

As we go about our days, there are always things we “have” to do and things we “get” to do.  Things we “have to” do are probably similar based on external perspective, but things we “get to” do are often based on personal preference.  This all comes down to the attitude and perspective we bring to a task or responsibility. 

Have-tos are the tasks that automatically remove your joy from the moment you’re required to do it.  When you’re evaluating the things you do and you come across something that you don’t enjoy, it can create a drudgery.  Misery is as contagious as joy.  When ministers are experiencing misery, it paints a poor picture of the new life we have in following Jesus.  

Get-tos are the things that energize you.  When you receive energy from a task or responsibility, you probably approach it as something you “get to” do! Joy and energy are contagious when others see it.  Seeing the opportunity of getting to complete certain tasks is really recognizing that the love of Christ compels us in the ministry we have.

Define the line

Where do things shift from a “Have-To” to a  “Get To”? There are often seasons where you’ve been doing something that used to bring you joy, but now it becomes something you have to do.  There are times when you have to do something, but your perspective changes and you realize you get to do it.  

There is a line where things cross between get-to and have-to.  That line is defined by your perspective and your joy.  In order to better establish what triggers that change and understand what you have to vs. get to do, you need to know where every task you complete falls.  

As you consider the things you do in a regular week or season of ministry, list them out in one of 2 columns.  One column would be things you HAVE to do and one would be things you GET to do.  As you list them out, it might even be helpful to have someone speak into the list.  Get their honest feedback on what they notice as things that they see you enjoying vs. suffering through.

Have To vs. Get To

Process EmailStaff Meeting
Expense ReportsPhone calls to volunteers
Write a blogPrepare my sermon

Seeing the list of things you do can be alarming.  The list can make it seem like you do a lot…but it’s supposed to be as comprehensive as possible.  Once you’ve seen where everything initially falls, feel free to review to see if something can be moved from one side to the other.  Be honest…the person who benefits the most from your honesty in this process is you.

As you finalize the list, consider what makes the “get-tos” fun for you. The question that goes with the “have-tos” is “do I have to do these?”  Sometimes, YOU do HAVE to do them, but often times there are things on our have-to list that might be a blessing for someone else to do.  This can be very freeing.

Paul writes that God has given pastors to equip the saints for works of ministry.  Are you hoarding “have-tos” which could actually be something that allows saints to flourish?  Wouldn’t that be more fun for everyone?!?

While you may always have “have-tos,” you don’t always have to have them all! Make a change in your rhythm to unleash someone to thrive in ministry, and then think through how to add fun to the have-tos.  This is something that can deplete most of your have-to category.

As you look through your list, what is one change you can make in the way/place/time you do these tasks?  Making a small change can bring about small moments of fun.  Small moments of fun can shift your perspective to a “get-to” point of view.

If it’s difficult to think through making things fun, it would be helpful to manage your time well.  When we manage our time efficiently, we can spend the most time on the things we enjoy the most.  To get started on that, check out this article.

Getting a grip on what you do and how you do it can open the door to making it fun.  It’s not enough to simply get things done if you can’t make them fun.  Too many people are watching ministers suffer from task to task.  This could be a chance to reinvigorate the joy with which you’re approaching your ministry!

Reflection Questions

  • What are your get-tos/have-tos?
  • Which have-tos can you turn into get-tos?
  • Who energizes you?
  • Who is fun that you can include in what you’re doing?

Josh Fortney is a Strategic Envisioning Guide with the Malphurs Group and a pastor at Spring Creek Church in Garland, TX. Josh has a gift for helping churches discover their passion for making and maturing disciples, and having fun along the way. He lives in the DFW Metroplex with his wife and two kids. Email Josh.

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