The chapter starts with a description of a pastor who is so caught up in the details of his day to day tasks that he feels smothered. He is stressed because he is not able to do the things he feels he should be doing. As a result, his ministry is suffering, his family is suffering and he is feeling guilty.
The authors say
in the midst of complexity, people want to find complicity. They long for it, seek it, pay for it, even dream of it. Simple is in. Simple works. People respond to simple.
They cite Apple, Google, Southwest Airlines, and Papa John’s as corporations that have taken simple and made it successful. They also cite graphic designers, interior designers, and marketing professionals who have discovered that simple is the best model for their efforts. They then go on to list some things that they are not suggesting in this book. They are not 1) “suggesting that the simple approach to ministry is a change in doctrine or conviction“, 2) “saying that churches should become simple because it is in style or culturally hip“, 3) “saying that churches should have a simple process just for pragmatic reasons“, and 4) “claiming that a simple church design is easy“.
Next the authors discuss how Jesus simplified things for believers. Under the Jewish system there were 613 laws that everyone had to observe. Jesus came and summarized them into two. He said we were to “love God with all our heart, soul, and mind” and we were to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Jesus said that all the Jewish laws were summed up and dependent on these two. Then, and now, Jesus simplified things for His people.
The chapter ends with a discussion of how being simple requires leaders to see the whole picture not just the parts. They said “To have a simple church, leaders must ensure that everything their church does fits together to produce life change.” That is the hard part, we get so caught up in the day-to-day activities that we can forget to look at the big picture. But, it is vital for the process. If we can’t take the time to look at the big picture we will never be able to evaluate how thing fit together.
I have been excited at the start of this book. It is an easy read so far. It seems to be addressing an issue that I anticipate will help me and my church. I hope to be able to pass this book along to my pastor after I have finished it. I will admit that the idea of simplifying was not the way I would have suggested anyone proceed at church before I heard of this book.