January 12, 2007

Feature Creep and Focusing the Church

"Feature Creep" is the name given to the problem of adding so much to the original product that its original intent is lost.

How often we fall into this trap as a church. We all know the church that doesn't have enough people to do anything effectively, and yet tries to provide a full Sunday School program, Vacation Bible School, worship, etc. Rather than subtract something, they keep adding because the "people" want more features.

The root causes are many: lack of vision, attempt to please everyone, adding without subtracting, etc.

As church planters "feature creep" should be considered one of the 7 deadly sins. You only have so much time and energy. This means that there are certain things you cannot do. You have to ask yourself, "What 3 to 5 things can we focus on as a church that will make the most impact?" I tend toward the 3, but some people are way more talented than I and can focus on 5.

The top two for a church plant should be the Sunday morning experience (which is 3-4 wrapped into one) and outreach. The Sunday morning experience has children's ministry, worship, preaching, hospitality, and follow-up all rolled into one. Outreach, well that is a given, or at least it should be a given. You cannot do everything well when you start out.

There are some church plants that are blessed with more than enough money and a ready made staff and can start off with a full menu of ministries and programs. But for the rest of us "normal" church planters, we can only focus on a few things. The problem is keeping ourselves from continually adding more and more without being able to fully support what we already have.


  1. I think one of our features should be valet parking.

    No not really.

  2. Agreed. I have been able to draw in some young talented men to our church plant. I have two guidelines on this right now: 1) We will do a few things really well. 2) We won't start anything new without a strong leader other than myself.

    We have some gaps still, but God is providing the members of the body as He promised He would.