Artie Davis
Artie Davis

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I heard a phrase on a business radio program that I wasn’t familiar with … “Addition by subtraction.”

It was explained that quite often, an organization or department can add to its effectiveness by actually taking someone off the team (not replacing them). I understand the genius of less is more, but addition by subtraction? … awesome idea!

Here are 3 things you may need to subtract (take away) from your church if it’s not moving…

1. Subtract a Ministry. Too many ministries and not any operating at full capacity is dangerous. We need to systematically measure the success of all we do, and subtract those that are sub par.

Not that they aren’t good. We just need to subtract them until we have the energy and resources to do them passionately well.

Which ministry are you going to pray about shelving?

2. Subtract a Meeting. Can I get an Amen?? O yeah, Glory! Unproductive and unnecessary meetings are draining and they kill passion. Only gather together when needed, not necessarily scheduled.

A meeting mentality feeds the need to talk and not do. What regularly scheduled meeting will you reduce or eliminate?

3. Subtract a Member. Yeah, sometimes we just have take someone off the team. That means you have to be willing to make the difficult call. If that one staff, volunteer, leader or whatever isn’t contributing, they are draining! If you don’t subtract them, your team will begin to dwindle.

What member of your team (if any) should you seriously consider subtracting?

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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