Addition by Subtraction



“The best thing founders can do is subtraction. It’s much, much, much easier to add things than it is to remove things. Adding things is a lot more expensive than removing things. However, it requires some measure of bravery and risk-taking.” – Tobi Lutke on The Knowledge Project Podcast

The beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate all your programs and ministries—not for whether or not you like them and not for whether they are good or bad.  Those are weak measuring sticks. Instead, you should evaluate your ministries for EFFECTIVENESS against your clarified mission.  Here’s an evaluation form that could help you take an honest look.

When you do that, you’ll likely realize that a handful of ministries (we call these Keystone Ministries) are the most important.  These ministries need an unfair advantage – more funding, more volunteers, and more communication.  Read more about keystone ministries here.

Keystone Ministries are one of the ten things we will help you clarify on your Two Page Plan. This foundational exercise is the starting point for all Church Fuel members.  Join here and get immediate access to the brand-new templates and all of the explainer videos.



You’ve probably seen stories how musicians or athletes have trashed hotel or locker rooms.  But the picture above is how the Japanese Men’s team left the dressing room after their win at the 2022 World Cup.  And legend has it, they did a similar thing back in 2018 they did the same thing.  And left a thank you note in three languages.

This isn't just a clean dressing room, it's a clear demonstration of values.

Your values and distinctives as a church are more important than you realize and it’s incredibly important to clarify and communicate them.  Your values are guideposts for decision making, filters for hiring, and measuring sticks for performance.  And your distinctives—the things that make you different—can be useful is communicating who you are to people in your community.

We’ll help you identify and clarify both in this new resource.



Alan Jacobs wrote this about the topic of letting AI do your writing, but I think it applies to pastors writing sermons or maybe this tough season of ministry you’re in right now.

My question about all this is: And then? You rush through the writing, the researching, the watching, the listening, you’re done with it, you get it behind you — and what is in front of you? Well, death, for one thing. For the main thing.

But in the more immediate future: you’re zipping through all these experiences in order to do what, exactly? Listen to another song at double-speed? Produce a bullet-point outline of another post that AI can finish for you?

The whole attitude seems to be: Let me get through this thing I don’t especially enjoy so I can do another thing just like it, which I won’t enjoy either….

I say: If you’re trying to get through your work as quickly as you can, then maybe you should see if you can find a different line of work.



Have your team meetings gotten a little stale?  Looking to mix things up or take some big steps forward.  We put together some of our favorite team meetings – complete with a description and agendas.

Download 7 Staff Meeting Ideas here (direct link, no sign up required).

One big reason the Two Page Plan is so effective is you can bring it out in your team meetings and lightly updated it every 90 days. That makes it a useful and usable resource to keep people on the same page and keep you using forward. 



How many times have you started a week with intentionality, only to reach the weekend feeling unaccomplished and still unprepared for Sunday? It's easy to let the demands of ministry keep you from doing the actual ministry.

Our best-selling resource, the Pastor’s Planner has been updated for 2023.  There’s one page for each week of the year, and we’ll call out important dates relevant to churches and provide micro-coaching and timely ideas in the sidebar. 

Everything in the Pastor’s Planner was written to support the big decisions you clarify on The Two Page Plan.

You can get the Pastor’s Planner here or it’s included for all Church Fuel members.



[+]  Wonder which big challenge to tackle in your church? You know you can’t work on everything at once and expect great results, but this assessment will help you and your team know where to start.  The team part is cool, too.  All free.  >> The Opportunity Assessment

[+] If your team is tired and worn out from the busy Christmas season, here are five things you can do to re-energize a tired team

{+]  More than 1,200 churches of all sizes are active participants in the Church Fuel community and we work hard to keep the price accessible to most.  But if you need a scholarship, here’s a quick application.