It’s Time to Clean Out the Garage

Messy Garage
BY GEOFF SURRATT

Every couple of years we go through a painful exercise at our house; we clean out the garage. There is a defect in our garage in that it will never stay clean for very long. Whenever we get a new piece of furniture, we put the old furniture in the garage. Every time we get a lovely gift that we have no idea what to do with, it goes in the garage. Every time my beautiful wife decides to change the décor of a room, all of the old décor goes in the garage. When the garage gets so full we can’t lift the door, we know it’s time to clean it out again.
When it’s time to clean the garage the family tends to find someplace else to be because they know just how unpleasant I can be during this task. First I drag everything out of the garage and lay it on the front lawn. (The neighbors love this.) Then I make three piles. Pile one is the stuff we want to keep. (My goal is for this to be the smallest pile.) Pile two is the stuff we want to give away. (We don’t even bother with garage sales anymore. It’s too humiliating dickering over $0.25 for an old coat hanger.) Pile three is the stuff we want to throw away. Once the piles are made, I put pile one back in the garage and get rid of piles two and three.

Is it time for a garage-style cleanup in your ministry? You have been accumulating tasks and responsibilities for years, and it’s time to give some stuff away and to dump some stuff entirely. Take some time to do this exercise:

  • List everything you do for the church. Do you mow the lawn? Fold the bulletins? Follow-up with the visitors? Preach?
  • Which of the things on the list can only you do? Be honest. There are some things that only you can do, but very few.
  • Which of the things on the list can you give to someone else? Begin making a secondary list of people to whom you can begin giving ministry tasks.
  • Which of the things on the list should be stopped entirely? When I made this list, I realized that no one should be preaching on Sunday nights. It was an abysmal service that people attended out of duty, so we did away with it. What can you do away with?

    Geoff Surratt has more than 27 years of ministry experience in a variety of roles in local churches and works frequently with other churches across the country in strategic planning and staff development. Geoff is the author of several books, including The Multisite Church Revolution and 10 Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing. He is now the managing director of Exponential and a freelance church catalyst and encourager.

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