by Rob Campbell
In light of Joelâ€™s post yesterday, it does appear that pastors throughout the world are longing for a more simple approach to church. They are tired of the unneeded bells and whistles of church which seem to encumber reaching not-yet believers and seeing lives change on a consistent basis. Of course, even a cell church can be encumbered with numerous appendages that impede making a difference in oneâ€™s community.
In Floyd McClungâ€™s book, You See Bones, I See An Army, he writes, ”
I believe any model of church that wins, gathers, and multiplies followers of Jesus is a good model. But the fact is that the bigger and more complicated a local church becomes, the more people and the more money it takes to lead on person to Christ.
This fact has been proved over and over again throughout the decades.
Like Joel Comiskey, McClung is a fan of the simple church. McClung continues:
Simple church seeks to empower people by avoiding bureaucracy, dependence on buildings, hierarchy, and â€˜come to usâ€™ models of mission. Simple church spontaneously and deliberately gets everyone involvedâ€“ where they live, play, and work.
Years ago when I was a youth pastor, I was asked to preach one Sunday morning by my Senior Pastor. He asked me, “Rob, do you know what the KISS theory is?” I said, “Nope, I donâ€™t believe so.” Thatâ€™s when he stated, “When you preach, Keep It Simple Stupid!”
I donâ€™t mean to be offensive, but maybe itâ€™s time to remember that theory and apply it to our communities of faith.
4 thoughts on “Simple Thoughts”
I think that we need to be careful when trying to discuss having a ‘simple’ church. The danger is that we can become simplistic – in other words reducing a problem to a false simplicity by ignoring complicating factors. If people are regularly getting saved in a church you are going to have some complexity to deal with. There are things you need to do. The more people who get saved the more complicated it becomes.
The good news is that there are some cell driven church concepts and ideas that can help us handle the complexity challenge created when a church starts to display a little bit of life! But to think that a church that is healthy and alive will be ‘simple’ is quite unrealistic. The healthy cell driven churches that I have seen keep things simple, but you will find that what they do is reproducible. So you get complexity, but as a result of simple ways of doing things…
Of course this all sounds to me like a rehash of the arguments of 10 to 15 years ago – that running a program based church is quite a hard complicated task – it’s just that we have learnt somewhere in the 90’s and early noughties that running a program based cell based church (which some would argue isn’t really isn’t even a cell driven church) can be even harder!
Spoke to a guy from the second biggest church in Japan (it’s a cell based church). He said that the Pastor is continually encouraging his church leaders not to overcomplicate things, but to keep things SIMPLE. Funny that…….
I practice the KISS principle in most everything I do ministry-wise… but I tell people it stands for Keep It Simple for the Saints. This word change removes the derogatory tone from an otherwise powerful acrostic.
It is actually quite simple to grasp the reality: The thicker the manual, the less people will learn about the whole of that manual. The longer the meeting, the less people will retain about all that is shared.
However, we’re an odd lot. We like to add layers of new information to a training manual or process instead of replace something with something better.
I read Simple Church hoping to glean something from it I could apply to my life and ministry and found nothing innovative. Shutting down dead programs isn’t simplification nearly as much as it is a decision made by caring leadership.
I like what Randall says – he makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, for churches that are transitioning to a better way of doing things, it takes time and effort to convince the saints that shutting down their dead programs is caring!! Change Management for churches is difficult…. Unfortunately I don’t think there are many pastors who have that skill…… (really it’s a number of skills required – a skillset)….