Welcome back to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today we have David Kinnan, who is the lead pastor of Fountain Springs Church which is a fantastic church in a part of the country where churches don’t normally grow.
Fountain Springs Church is in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is focused on people who are uncomfortable with going to church or the idea of being around Christians. They try to really pay attention to people both inside and outside the church to show them who Jesus is.
David is with us today to talk about evaluating and maintaining ministries at your church so that they thrive and give life.
- Think of wells. // When deciding what needs to be changed and how to change it, David and his team think of it in terms of “wells”. In other words, a ministry or department is a “well” that has the potential of breaking down or drying up if it isn’t properly cared for or maintained. David believes the challenge is not necessarily doing the right thing the first time, but doing the right things over time. So when considering different aspects of Fountain Springs Church, they look at the health or condition of the well, and why what’s happening is happening.
- Insecurity and apathy. // When evaluating the wells/ministries at the church, there are two things that can get in the way of a well’s health: insecurity and apathy. Anytime you need to make a difficult decision about a well, realize insecurity and apathy can keep you from fixing what is broken. To help with this, have someone who is not emotionally connected to the things your church does throughout the year review your ministries or what your church is doing. They will see clearly what is going on and what needs to be improved.
- Find a why. // If 60% of people have stopped going to a group, find out why. If you don’t find a why, that well is likely to dry out. David and is team are constantly looking at numbers. In the example of a group that includes not just who attended, but who continues to attend and that helps you to see whether a well is broken or filling with water. It helps to keep tracking these over time so that you have indicators of what is causing wells to dry out and what helps them fill up.
- Be willing to test things. // Sometimes churches are unwilling to test things because of what people might think or what we might lose. One thing David is wrestling with is the weekends. When the weather is nice in the area where he lives people will hike and when it’s not nice they’ll ski, so the weekends are not sacred. So he’s considering offering evening weekday services. They will begin to offer the service on a weeknight for 6-8 weeks, then pull it away and see if it is wanted for return. If so, it will be returned on a permanent basis. This is Fountain Springs’ way of “testing for water” before they drill a new well.
- Try to fix wells. // Every year, David gives his staff three problems he’s aware of in the church—three wells that are either broken or appear to be drying out. The entire team is either repairing or digging three new wells. David chose three because they can easily do more than two, but four is too many to be done very well at one time. He recommends that staff sit together and discuss whether they have any dry wells or broken or abandoned ones and then figure out ways to fix those problems.
You can learn more about Fountain Springs Church at their website www.fs.church.
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Something You Wish They Taught // I wish they taught me how to learn – I was taught by copying other people’s methods. Pastors need to be lifetime learners.
Influential Book // An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield
Downloadable Resource // Sermon Planning Chart
Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Radical Mentoring