Sunday, April 22, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The Simple Church
by Thom S. Rainer
from Outreach magazine, May/June 2006
Are you in a church that seems so incredibly busy that nothing seems to get done? Are the people in the church weary from activities? Do the ministers rarely get a break from their seven-day-a-week responsibilities?
If you've answered "yes" to any of the questions above, welcome to the crowd. Many churches today are becoming busier—and less effective.
Our team recently conducted a major research project that examined the activities of churches in North America. Our conclusion was basic but profound: Simple churches are more effective in both evangelism and discipleship; busy, activity-filled churches are less effective in these areas.
Simple Church Defined
When our team talks about a simple church, we have a very specific definition. It is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
This definition has some weight to it, so let's walk through it one phrase at a time.
A simple church is designed. It's not carelessly thrown together or haphazardly planned. The ministry doesn't "just happen"; it's thought-out, structured and designed with care.
A simple church is designed around … meaning that the programs and ministries revolve around something. They're not just plugged into the church calendar. Everything is designed around something. And that something is not a nebulous, abstract concept.
The design revolves around a straightforward and strategic process. The process is simple and easy to grasp. The leaders know it, and the people understand it. The process is intentionally kept simple. It's not lengthened or changed every few months. Complexity is not welcome. The church chooses to stay simple and rejects the multitude of new programs and models offered to it.
The process is also strategic, closely knitted to the church's purpose or vision. The process is built for execution to impact people. It's designed to be sequential so that people can move through the process.
The simple process moves people. People are attracted to Christ and the church, and are then moved to points of attachment. Ministries and programs in a simple church are used as tools to promote this movement.
People are moved through the stages of spiritual growth. The movement has an intentional and intended end result: Changed lives are the bottom line. A simple church understands that people are at different places in their spiritual journeys and that spiritual growth is a process. The church is designed to partner with God to move people through stages of spiritual growth.
Sadly, most churches miss this truth. They are not simple. They have not designed a simple process for discipleship. They have not structured themselves around the process of spiritual transformation. And as a result, they are making little impact.
These churches need an extreme makeover. They desperately need a new design for church ministry. We make these statements with confidence because our research indicates that the simple church strategy is effective. A simple process makes a major difference.
First Steps to Simplicity
The beginning of the simple church revolution is to decide what your church really needs to reach people for Christ and to move people to become more devoted followers of Him. The tough task is to eliminate everything else that makes no difference in this process.
Start with defining your process of disciple-making. Align all that your church does around this process, and get rid of the programs and ministries that don't facilitate or nurture that process.
It may take some time to move your church to simplicity, but the result is worth the wait. In a simple church, lives are changed. Your church is effective.
Let the revolution begin!
This just makes sense, doesn't it?
Monday, April 09, 2007
See if you can find a copy by googling "Shane teaches how to sing up to 3 C's above middle C"
Don't watch unless you have 10 extra minutes to waste laughing...
This is one of the reasons I no longer teach voice lessons.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Seriously, I'm all for taking care of God's creation, but the whole global warming thing is really getting old, don't you think?