12 Poor Band-Aid Solutions to Church Problems

This past weekend, I injured my thumb, and the bleeding necessitated a Band-Aid. The Band-Aid, though, didn’t fix the problem; it just stopped the bleeding. That’s usually what happens, too, when church leaders choose "Band-Aid" solutions for congregational problems like those listed below. The bleeding stops, but the problem ultimately remains:

  1. Having a “high attendance day” with no planned follow up. What may result in increased attendance one Sunday likely won’t result in long-term growth unless a follow-up strategy is in place.
  2. Having a “Catch up” budget day with no financial training. Again, the dollars may increase for one Sunday – but for only one Sunday.
  3. Special emphases as the only focus on evangelism. Emphases are important, but they’re not the cure-all for evangelistic woes. Anything short of instilling an evangelistic heart in members isn’t lasting.
  4. Hiring staff internally because “we won’t have to pay to move them.” I like the increased focus on hiring from within the church, but the reason for moving in that direction must be greater than financial savings.
  5. Selecting workers simply on the basis of their willingness. You might be able to fill all the open slots, but putting the wrong people on the wrong seat in the bus will eventually cost you.
  6. Adding some chairs to fix a space problem. Temporary fixes might solve a space problem for a little while, but “temporary” solutions are just that: they won’t provide seats long-term.
  7. Giving unfaithful members a role to increase their commitment. Not only does this approach seldom work, but it’s also unbiblical. People who are inconsistent and uncommitted should not be given leadership roles.
  8. Starting a second service to fix a poor one. Frankly, the same leaders who created a weak first service aren’t likely to correct the problems in a new second service.
  9. Running off a pastor to turn the church around. Even the brief growth that often occurs under a new pastor will halt when the same power players don’t like him, either.
  10. Changing curriculum to jump-start small group attendance. Most of the time, the problem with plateaued small groups is not the curriculum; it’s weak or untrained leaders. A bad leader will make even the best curriculum boring.
  11. Giving to missions only to become a Great Commission church. Giving is essential, but it alone doesn’t usually break a congregation’s heart for their neighbors and the nations.  
  12. Adding a prayer meeting to the schedule to increase the church’s prayer. Most likely, the people who already pray will attend. The right solution must create more prayer DNA in church staff and leaders.  

What other “Band-Aid” solutions come to mind for you?


  • Cynthia says:

    Depending on “angels”, those members who can be called on to pay for variances in the church operating budget. Isn’t generosity wonderful! However it can keep the congregation from having a clear understanding of the true costs of being a “mission outpost”, so to speak. I’ve heard stewardship leaders ask for the smallest budget possible from various teams because, “we know where to go if you need more.” Greater issues are stewardship, learning the joy of giving based on gratitude to God.

    I like your band aid illustration, Chuck. In a past clinical vocation of mine we were taught as students to beware treating symptoms rather than the disease. It is so much easier to treat symptoms. While courage is needed to go deeper, I believe Christ is up to it if we are.

  • stopsines says:

    Creating attractional youth events to generate “momentum” is one I would add. I would also add creating a peer-oriented youth ministry so that it is more appealing to the culture. Both are bandaids to addressing issues of gospel faithfulness in the presence of a diverse body.

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