“The Ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hoffmann
Sometimes the church needs a makeover. Just like homes that over time have begun to show their wear and need to be renovated, many times the church needs renewal. Sometimes it just needs a tweak, other times it needs to be torn down and rebuilt in an attempt to build a simple, effective church ministry.
Rainer and Geiger define a Simple Church as, “a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth,” (Simple Church p. 60)
- It is designed: not haphazardly thrown together.
- Around: it is centered on a simple process of discipleship.
- Straightforward: Not confusing
- Strategic: It is working towards a goal or vision.
- People: It's designed for people.
- Spiritual Growth: It has an intentional end-result.
The church needs four key elements are needed in designing a simple ministry process.
Clarity – Movement – Alignment – Focus
Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by people.
Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment.
Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process.
Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process.
Here is an expanded definition of Simple Church adding the key elements.
“A Simple Church is designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth, The leadership and the church are clear about the process (clarity) and are committed to executing it. The process flows logically (movement) and is implemented in each area of the church (alignment). The church abandons everything that is not in the process (focus).
The authors use the illustration of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18). He is an example of a focused leader, who wanted to get back to the basics of following God. The first decisions that he made were to remove the practices which were obviously wrong and distracting. But then he does something more unorthodox and difficult. He destroyed the bronze snake that God had instructed Moses to make(Numbers 21:6-8). The reason was that people were worshipping it, more than they were worshipping God.
Sometimes we, in the church, have to take stock of what we are doing and ask ourselves, if we are worshipping God or if we are worshipping the way we do worship or our methodology. As Geiger and Rainer state, “The key is to choose the best. Eliminate the unnecessary and choose the best.” (pg. 80) “And I pray this….that you can determine what really matters,” (Philippians 1:9-10)