Simple Church

I bought this book almost 3 years ago. The church I was working for at the time had done some sort of process through it about 3 years prior (before I was on staff) and I had always been interested in it. If for nothing else but the fact that our church was about the farthest thing from “simple” that I could think of. It’s not that we weren’t pursuing Jesus or drawing people close to Him, it’s that we weren’t clear about making pathways for people through discipleship – and that’s exactly what this book is about.

I cracked it open again on my return flights from Africa, and was instantly hit with a freight train of realization and dead simple practical advice.

Here’s what it boils down to: If your congregation does not have a clear path of discipleship that fulfills your unique vision and mission in your community (you do have a unique vision and mission for your community, right?), then chances are, you desperately need to read this. If any sort of activity, event, whatever is not feeding into that process, then it’s time to cut it.

What I really appreciated about this book is that the authors address both the church that will easily be able to adapt into a more simple approach, as well as the deeply engrained complex church that may take years to change. They provide practical steps to getting there. I’ve been in both situations, and I deeply appreciated this.

At K2, we’ve already been in discussion and work over the last year to begin implementing a more simplified process, which includes new ways of measuring how people are moving through our process, identifying and visioncasting what the process is, and implementing it in a more simplified manor. I’m more fired up than ever to engage in discussion with leadership about this, how I can help fuel this effort, and ideate more clear processes. For me, that’s working in my strengths, which fuels both me and my organization.

Here are a few of my highlights from the book:

  • “There is a big difference between simple and easy. Simple is basic, uncomplicated, and fundamental. Easy is effortless”
  • “…He has not looked at the forest because he is preoccupied with the trees.”

Do you feel inundated with the all the stuff, all the recurring needs, all the crap you’re dealing with? Do you ever feel like it’s swallowing you alive, removing your passion for actual ministry – for life change? Perhaps it’s time for a view over the forest, and likely a time to cut some trees down to allow for growth in the parts of the forest that you want to foster.

_____

  • “Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by people”
  • “Understanding always precedes commitment.”
  • “Simple churches pay attention to the handoffs. They have grasped the truth that assimilation effectiveness is more important that programmatic effectiveness”
  • “Without an overlap, people fall through the cracks.”
  • “People need spiritual tour guides. They have had plenty of spiritual travel agents.”

______

  • “Choose one program for each phase of your process. The temptation is to attach all of your existing programs to one aspect of your process. While your intentions are good, doing so will not simplify your ministry.”

This is actually the heart of some of the work we’re doing at K2 right now. There are many things that we offer that are really good opportunities. If they don’t fit into our process however, then they need to be cut. Period.

  • “Uniformity is different from unity.”

Teams can wear uniforms and still be divided. There’s a reason I put this last. At the end of the day, if you don’t get your team all on board and unified on this, then it will not work. Secondarily, a united process doesn’t mean that it has to have the same look and feel. Your youth ministry probably won’t take 15 year olds through the same steps in appearance, but it should take them to the same result in process.

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