Starting today and ending on October 15th, I’m going to be involved in a group blogging project around the book Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. Each day one person is going to be leading the discussion based on each of the 9 chapters of the book. For more information, click here.
I get to start the fun with Chapter 1.
The first sentence of the book is actually one word. “Relax”
I wonder how many people who are deeply involved in the day to day runnings of “any church, USA” have built in time to “Relax.” I must admit, that I had heard about the book before jumping into it. I knew a little of what to expect. However I remember taking pause with the first word; the first word struck me as an interesting way to begin. Relax
Thom and Eric then go on to defend that they do not intend to present a new model or program for improving local churches. They want to present observations of churches that seem to be thriving and growing. They make it clear that becoming “simple”:
- Does Not Change Doctrine or Conviction
- Not the thing to do just to be in style or “culturally hip.”
- Don’t become simple just for pragmatic reasons (although… it does seem to work)
- Becoming Simple is not Easy. Don’t expect “Easy”
The statistics are pretty overwhelming. Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom, making disciples, and advancing the movement of the gospel. Complex churches are struggling and anemic. Cluttered and not growing. Overprogrammed and busy.
Jesus came and attacked cluttered and complex religion and simplified it. He taught that his grace offered a simple relationship with God. He wanted us to replace tiring, heavy burden religion with his yoke. And when the simple message of Christ was talked about with those who were gathering to hear the message, lives changed. Revival Happened.
I recently heard a sermon by Perry Noble from NewSpring church where Perry talked about how confused he was when churches scheduled “Revivals.” He talked about how weird he thought it was that churches would plan for the “third week in September” to have a revival so that they could see the hand of God move. Perry mentioned that nowhere in the Bible did early Christians “plan a revival.” They had a mission. They knew that mission. They did not allow complexity to get in the way of that mission.
Take this concept to every ministry of your local church. While we’re supposed to be unified with a simple mission in place, we often are disconnected and acting as individual parts instead of seeing the big picture of working together towards that simple mission.
It is interesting how organizations are always drifting towards complexity. This is why it is absolutely necessary for leadership to define the process for members. The book Simple Church really comes down to looking at the process that simple churches follow. I wish I could define it here…but I’ll hold and wait for Adam Shields to cover it in chapter 3 on Wednesday. When the process is clearly defined, people can embrace the process and pursue only that which leads to the greater mission.
So… Looking for ideas for those of us who find ourselves leaning more towards complexity than simplicity. Go.