Are Garage Door Openers Killing Your Ministry?

The original garage door was introduced in 1902. It gained popularity over the next two decades and by 1935 garage doors were a must-have for middle class and affluent homeowners. For over a decade, people drove home from work, pulled their car into their garage, walked to the mailbox, said hello to neighbors and pushed the garage door close. In the late 1940’s this all changed as the world was introduced to the electric garage door opener. The ease of pushing a button and closing out the rest of the world was too much of a temptation. The convenience of the invention eliminated the possibility of community.

I love systems. As the Children’s Director for a giga church ministering to over 6,000 kids weekly, I was always looking for ways to streamline our processes and make us more efficient. Oftentimes I would be forced to take a step back and ask myself, “Am I sacrificing effectiveness for efficiency? Am I increasing our productivity at the risk of community?” I can’t tell you how many times I introduced a new system just to remove it one month later. Ministry is showing love and meeting needs. If I create a system or streamline a process and it results in the elimination of relationship, I’ve missed the mark.

So ask yourself, what process, program, or handout have you created that increases the efficiency of your ministry but kills its effectiveness? People need to experience community. They need to experience kindness, camaraderie, compassion, worth, and excitement. They need to feel love. More often than not, this is accomplished through personal one-on-one communication.

My challenge for you today is to take a quick look at your ministry. Identify your ‘garage door openers’ and make a plan to remove them. Choose effectiveness over efficiency, community over expediency.

I’d love to hear from you. What ‘garage door openers’ are you working to remove from your ministry?

Jess Bealer

Jessica Bealer has been leading children’s ministry for 17 years. The last five years have been spent overseeing standards, systems, staffing and atmosphere for the children’s ministry of Elevation Church. She has overseen the launch of nearly twenty locations, and is considered a specialist in kidmin multisite. Jessica is a mother of four and published author. She is married to Frank, the CEO of Phase Family Centers and Executive Director of Leadership Development at Orange. Together they are the founders of FamilyMinistry.Church.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Are Garage Door Openers Killing Your Ministry?

  1. Hi Jess. This is an interesting thought. We recently put in several self check-in stations for our families to check in each Sunday. Our manned check-in desks were getting swamped and lines were long, so we wanted to ease those to allow families to get checked in quickly. As I read this , I thought about how that could be costing us in relationship. I think a good idea will be to make sure we have greeters there by the stations to make the families feel welcome. Whenever any of our staff are by the self check-in stations, we of course greet families and talk to them and pray with them, but we can’t always be there. Thank you for the reminder that something like this can keep us from relationship.

    • Stewart! That’s exactly the mindset I’m talking about. It’s a great thing that you’ve automated your check-in process, but we have to make sure the relationship isn’t lost with the advancement. In eKidz, we always stationed a volunteer at our self check-in stations for exactly this reason! And…if something goes wrong (a station goes down, etc.) you’ll be on top of it. Let me know how it goes when you make the switch!