Money-church-affordAll of us who lead in a church understand the cost of doing ministry—the financial cost, that is. We know our budgets and the limits of what we can afford or not afford.

However, many pastors and leaders are allowing some intangible costs to rob them now, and the net result will be devastating if these “costs” are not cut.

1. A complaining culture. We all know what this means. It’s that thing that says, “It’s not my way, so I’m going to complain about it.” Your church can’t afford that. You have to teach your people and get it into your DNA that people simply can’t complain. You want your people to be about 80 percent happy. When people are 80 percent happy, you know you’re reaching all kinds of people. The second people get 100 percent happy, you will only reach those just like them. Here’s the thing: Teach your people that they can’t complain about the 20 percent they’re not happy with. It’s suffocating to your church and your vision. The cost is too high.

2. Not investing in kids. “The church that wins the children wins the city.” That’s one of the first things I learned about ministry. The kids’ department is so much more than a babysitting service. Every week, I hear about kids bringing parents to church. Yes! If we can make a kid excited to come to church, we’ll likely get the parents too.

3. Not investing in young leaders. If you’re not investing in young leaders (those under 30), you’re missing the boat. What dies with you isn’t from God. If the vision and mission you have is truly from God, it has to outlive you. God’s is so much bigger than your vision. Pass it on to the people who will be here after you.

4. Not keeping score. Measure what matters. If you don’t know how you’re doing, you’ll never do anything. Keep score. Don’t do it just to say you have x amount on Sunday morning. Do it because you need to constantly adjust what you’re doing by how you’re doing. If you don’t count and measure, you’ll look up one day and wonder what happened. Don’t let the cracks swallow your churcg—cover them so people don’t fall through.

What else can your church not afford?

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

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