Beware of the Black Sunday Syndrome

You’ve heard of “Black Friday,” that’s the day after Thanksgiving and is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  It got its name because that was the day that many retail stores hope to go in the black (be profitable).

In other words, they operate all year long up to that day losing money. 

What we have discovered is that that is a terrible business strategy. 

America is littered with closed retails stores and bankrupted and financially stressed companies. 

But there are winners in the space.  The winners are the ones who figure out how to be profitable all year long without putting all their hope in a few shopping days at the end of the year.

Pastors must learn the same thing.

The danger is to focus so much on Sunday that it becomes the one day of the week that has to fuel virtually all the growth and health of the church. 

Just as in retail, this too is unsustainable.  The winning churches are led by pastors who are very intentional about finding ways to make everyday count. 

A short list would be:

  1. Personal growth.  They invest in themselves and their ministry by reading and studying extensively, traveling, meeting mentors and even furthering their formal education.
  2. “Keeping house.”  A pastor’s work is never done…around the church property.  This may be anything from weeding the flower bed to painting the church sign or restriping the parking lot and re-caulking the windows.  Appearances matter; matter hugely.  You and your people may get use to the clutter and the run-down look, but I assure you that none of you are motivated by it and new people are repelled by it.    
  3. Personal evangelism.  A 52-week series on witnessing will barely move the needle in the pew.  A pastor must lead the way by being the chief soul-winner in their church.  As Paul instructed Timothy, a winning pastor “does the work of an evangelist” even if their calling and strength is located in other areas.  
  4. Community involvement.  See yourself as the “mayor” of your church who represents your church in the community.  Make your church a player in your community by being visible and active in your community.
  5. Pastoral care.  While you’re working for the people, be sure to keep persons in your life every day.  Good old-fashioned visitation is never out of fashion.
  6. Wednesday.  Don’t make Wednesday a Sunday-lite.  Be very strategic with how you use that precious hour.  Leadership training, mentoring, one-on-one coaching, men’s/women’s groups, visitation teams and very intentional bible teaching are possible choices.
  7. Administration.  This includes planning and preparing for a better future and also, managing diligently the daily “stuff” that comes with operating a nonprofit.  The devil or the deity is in the details—it’s your choice.

The ONE THING for today: A winning pastor figures out how to leverage every day to be a productive and fruitful day of ministry for their church. 

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