In Western culture, we all but worship having choices. The more choices, the better! But what if we’re wrong? And what if it’s actually limiting spiritual growth and involvement?

The closing of Toys-R-Us was a hot topic in early 2018. Many were sad at that “end of an era”. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can still sing the jingle about being a Toys-R-Us kid. I have to confess, though…going in there as an adult (even without my children!) was just too much. An endless sea of brightly colored plastic sent my brain into overload as I wandered the aisles, and I eventually walked out frustrated, empty-handed, and vowing never to repeat the experience. 

 What if our congregation is feeling this same “choice overload” with the variety of opportunities we offer for growth and involvement? 

Mark Howell of suggests that “offering groups and a few other ways that a person can grow spiritually…may actually be demotivating.” And based on the research on choice, he may be on to something. Our parishioners are wanting to grow spiritually, but too many options for next steps could leave them feeling much like I did when my head is spun in Toys-R-Us.

Howell suggests creating EASY, OBVIOUS, and STRATEGIC next steps for folks to take, pointing people in the right direction. He also suggests Narrowing the Focus; in other words, limiting the options to make it easier to choose.

Check out the entire blog post at the link below and evaluate the options your ministry offers. Could too many options actually be limiting your congregation’s growth and involvement?

For an interesting look at how the number of choices counterintuitively affects us, watch this informative and entertaining TED talk: