If you have been around the church world long then you know there is this natural pull towards complexity. Its pull is felt from communication to theology and from church calendars to philosophy of ministry. It other words the longer we go at this thing we call church the more complex we try to make it.
In the early days of a church plant things are simple, or at least they should be! You do Sunday mornings and maybe after six to eight months you start some small groups. You don't have the time, staff, or budget for anything else. But, as time goes by people will come to you with ministry idea after ministry idea. We should start a woman's and men's ministry. We should start a divorce care ministry. We should have a sports ministry. We should start having Bible studies... The list is endless. All good ideas... all good needs within your growing church.
BUT, here is my question: Name for me one person, or organization, that has truly changed the world and impacted lives that has done more than one or two things with excellence... I'll give you a moment... Times up! You could not do it could you? Billy Graham only did one thing and he changed the world. Campus Crusade for Christ changed the world because Bill Bright focused on the thing they could do well. We just got a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries and they have been voted the best burger for six years because they have a VERY simple menu. They focus on the one or two things they can do well.
"Now wait a minute are you saying the church should not try to meet every ones needs???" Let me be clear - YES!
The truth is many of our churches have been weakened because we invested too much time and money and man-power into things we could not do well! For the church to thrive in the next generations we have to get rid of the things that are good for the sake of what we can do the best.
In the book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry Reggie Joiner writes:
"The shift toward complexity is usually subtle, and it's rarely intentional. Passionate leaders introduce innovations; persistent members promote their agendas; new programs are established; traditions are born; new ideas are added to old programs. And over time the ministry begins to lose it focus, and the church becomes paralyzed by its inability to purge itself." (Page 101)
The conclusion: it is always dangerous to confuse activity with results!
The church that I lead, Church of the Suncoast, is only 18 months old and we have grown at a manageable rate from 9 people in my living room to over 130 people who call the Suncoast their home church. Even in this modest growth and young age we have already faced the pressure to start adding ministries and programs to meet needs. So it can happen fast!
Here is the bottom line. Be simple! Be simple! Ask yourself what are the one or two things you can do the best! Just because there is a need in your church DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO MEET IT. When you try to meet every one's needs in only feeds into a culture of "neediness" that will turn your church inward and away from the primary call of any church to seek and save the lost. Programs will always change but the vision remains the same.
You have to face the facts. To do more in life, you have to do less...
Tell me your story with complexity and simplicity:
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