Everything Has an Expiration Date

The expiration date.  If you are like me, you check this on a lot of things you use. 

Milk. It definitely has an expiration date.  Ignore the expiration date and you will be drinking some nasty stuff. 

Bread.  I always check the expiration date when I buy it at the grocery store.  Do you do this as well?

Cars.  Most cars have a warranty, but the warranty has an expiration date. 

Clothes. Styles of clothes have an expiration date.  Here is an example.  Years ago, dress shirts that didn't have a collar were in style.  If you were "cool," that's what you wore.  Wear a dress shirt with no collar now and you may get some funny looks.

Medicine has an expiration date.  Use it after the expiration date and it will not be as effective. 

AC and heat filters have an expiration date. You have to put new filters in every few months if you want it to work at full capacity.

Batteries expire.  If you have a TV remote, you are well aware of this.  

Insect repellent loses its effectiveness after it expires. 

Did you know that even church programs, strategies and events can have an expiration date?

Many churches have programs, strategies and events that have passed their expiration date.  They are simply not working... they are no longer effective.  It worked in 1960, but it's no longer 1960.  Because the church refuses to change and stay relevant, they begin a gradual decline.  They keep trying to pump life into something that has already expired.  

Trends come.  Trends expire.  In fact, the last 3 words of the word "trend" are "end."
Just because something worked 10 years ago, doesn't guarantee that it will work today. 

I want to encourage you every year to closely examine what you are doing.  Sit down as a team and ask the hard questions:

Which direction is attendance headed?  Up or down or level?  People vote with their feet.  If you have a program, event or strategy that is declining or just barely maintaining, it's time to see if it has passed its expiration date.

Are children and families experiencing spiritual growth through the current programs, events or strategies?  Are you seeing their lives change and become more like Christ?  

Is our curriculum or teaching methods relevant for today's kids?  Kids have changed.  Their attention spans have changed.  The culture they live in has changed.  All of this has changed the way we connect them to God's Word.

What is the level of our kids' Biblical knowledge?  The level of kids' Biblical knowledge as a whole is in decline.  Our teaching styles and strategies must change if we are going to effectively pass on God's Word to the next generation.

Now before you start throwing rocks at me...there are some things that have no expiration date.  God's Word and the power found in it will never expire.

God's love for us will never expire.  Nothing can separate us from it. 

Jesus' power and glory will never expire.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The Gospel will never change.  There is one way to salvation...it is through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. 

It's not 1960.  So stop doing church and ministry like it is.  Remove the things that have outlived their effectiveness and try something fresh and new.  Something that has plenty of time before it expires.