In the software business, they use “sunset” as a verb. And while we may think of “sunset” as a romantic noun, it’s usage as a verb is meant to convey an organizational decision that a certain application has reached the end of its life. When a company “sunsets” a piece of software, the company is essentially walking away from it, turning the organization’s focus and resources to other applications.
You may remember when Yahoo designated the bookmarking service Del.icio.us for sunset. Outdated financial software is often sunset when new versions become available. It seems like Google sunsets some of its little experiments every year, and FeedBurner may be officially sunset soon. Twitter’s sunset of its @Anywhere platform takes effect this week.
You get the idea.
I bring this up because I think now, even in the midst of your Christmas preparations, is a good time to think about sunsetting in your church, ministry, or organization. 2012 is coming to an end, and there could be some aspects of your operations that simply do not need to carry over into 2013. Ask yourself this: Could we better pursue our stated mission and vision if we abandoned some of our existing efforts?
Maybe you need to sunset your sock puppet ministry or your handbell choir. Maybe your pastor designs his own slides and it’s time to make a change there. Maybe you need to sunset your church’s library or bookstore. Maybe you need to sunset your weekly video blog. Maybe you need to sunset your cassette/CD ministry.
Obviously, I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t sunset. Rather, your leadership team must walk through those considerations together as you seek God’s guidance. What I can tell you is that if there are pursuits in your organization that don’t help you get any closer to your mission or vision, now is as good a time as any to think about scheduling a sunset.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.