Simple Church, Part 1

Simple Church: Return to God’s Process for Making Disciples (Rainer and Geiger)

This book is a very easy to read and understand assessment of the church in America. The authors provide research to support the assertion that church in America has become complex; leaving a simple strategy that attracts people and moves them into deeper levels of commitment to Christ and the community.

“Out of complexity, find simplicity.” — Albert Einstein

There are a lot of companies in America that have caught on to this method of simplicity:

  1. Apple – computers, phone, music are all interfaced with a simplicity of “plug and play.”
  2. Google – this site has only a few words on the front page, yet is used for about 75% of internet searches.
  3. Southwest Airlines – no assigne4d seats, minimal food, no hubs.
  4. Papa Johns – their mission is to have a simple formula for success: focus on one thing and try to do it better than anyone else. The menu is simple yet with superior quality.

Matthew 23, Jesus is pointing out the fact that the Pharisees were proud of fancy coffins; whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones.

“To be simple is to be great.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The opening section deals with a comparison between what the authors call First Church and Cross Church. The pastors and staff of each church are different; roles, focus, processes, etc.

First Church: in existence for over 40 years, recognized throughout the denomination, a solid church, wonderful Christmas programs, talented and popular staff who speak at conventions and write articles. They have an extensive church bulletin with lots of activity. They have a mission statement, purpose statement, vision statement and a strategy statement; each different from the other and long. They are influenced by another high-power church and uses a purpose that utilizes the five “M” statements – Magnification, Multiplication, Maturity, Ministry and Missions. All good, but another statement that people will not remember. There are a lot of programs and activity, but First Church is unclear about what it is, and how it is to get there. It just sort of happens. With staffing, this church has talented people with their own ideas and strategies.

Cross Church: not that well-known, no staff names are recognized, 20 years old, seen a lot of recent growth, people are coming to know Christ and are being plugged in to ministries. A difference emerges from First Church; first there is only one statement, an overarching theme that each group in the church has bought into. The pastor shares from the pulpit and the the staff, volunteers and publicity all reflect the simple statement of, “Love God, Love Others, Serve the World.” These are the purpose and the process. The strategy is to move people into deeper levels of commitment to Christ and the community. With staffing, each member is in line with the purpose and all activity is in line with that purpose.