Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simple churches

Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples, by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger is reviewed at Discerning Reader. The reviewer believes the book has valuable insights, but "over-reaches":
.... Simple churches correlate with ‘growing’ and ‘vibrant’ communities that are ‘making a big impact’ and ‘expanding the kingdom’ (p 14). Complex churches, conversely, are found to be ‘anemic’, ‘floundering’ and “as a whole….not alive.” (p 14).

So what is this highly acclaimed ’simple church’? According to the authors: “A simple church is designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.” (p 60). ‘Process’ and ‘movement’ are key ideas for the authors. Rather than seeing programmes as ends in themselves, church leaders are encouraged to see the big picture of how disciples are moving through various stages of discipleship towards maturity.

For this to work, leaders will have to constantly monitor the effectiveness of four areas:
  • Clarity - ‘the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by people’
  • Movement - ‘the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment’
  • Alignment - ‘the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process’, and
  • Focus - ‘the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside the simple ministry process’ ....
.... If your church suffers from an over-programmed, over-complicated setup, Simple Church might well be worth reading. Just be sure, however, not to believe the hype of the book itself. Church is never truly simple, and Simple Church over-reaches by claiming that it is “returning to God’s process for making disciples.” (book subtitle). Put simply? Gain insights from this book; don’t build your ecclesiology on it. [the complete review]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:32 PM

    Simple churches
    This remind me of Alice Mann's theory in her book "Your church Can Live" in which she calls on churches to upsize and down size in staff, programming, and commitee structure to meet the direction of the church.
    Too often we have our SDB churches, over "committeed" for the size.
    It also reminds me of the call by MORE 2000 for the creation of a Mission Statement through which all things of the church filter.


Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.