Simple Church – Chapter 6
March 6, 2008 1 Comment
Stagnant believers and congested churches go hand in hand.
That is a powerful statement. It is taken from page 137. Chapter 6 focuses on reducing congestion and promoting movement within the simple process. Not just any movement but movement toward a higher level of commitment. This chapter is broken down into 5 steps that you can do to promote movement. They are:
- Strategic Programming
- Sequential Programming
- Intentional Movement
- Clear Next Step
- New Members Class
The strategic programming step in vital. We must begin with a plan – a clearly defined process. The time spent on this stage will be well worth it. If we cut corners here it will cause confusion and require more time in the following steps.
The sequential programming step allows us to develop the flow for the movement. “Sequence produces movement.” (p. 145) We must put the programs for each step of the process in sequential order. This is simply logical. Why would we take the time to design a process and then put the steps of the process in any order other than sequential? The problem is that many of us do not even think about this problem and so when we add new things they will be placed in non-sequential order.
The next section talks about intentional movement. The authors discuss how in many churches people find a comfort zone and stay there. They remain in the same place spiritually for years, they stay in the same groups, the same routines, they sit in the same spot, etc. Does this sound familiar to anyone? People must be encouraged to move, to grow spiritually. To do this, the authors suggest we create short-term steps and capitalize on relationships in order to help people move. They say relationships are key. People who are moving through the process should help others to move through the process.
There should always be a clear next step. We should always seek to answer the question “what’s next?”. Design each step in the process with the idea of what is the next step. People are more likely to move through the process if they know where they are going next or what the goal is.
The last section discusses the need for a new members class. I like the idea of having a new members class. I actually taught the new members class a couple times at my last church (my current church does not have a new members class). I do not completely see how it fits into this chapter at this point but that in no way takes away from its importance. New members classes give people a chance to get to know exactly what they are joining. It allows the church to teach who and what it is and allows people who do not, and will not, conform to the vision of the church to find out before they have completed the joining process. The authors mention that “churches that require potential members to attend a new members class have a much higher retention rate than those who do not.” (p. 158)
Any way you look at it, Christians are supposed to become more like Jesus. Churches can help that process, they can hinder it, or they can be indifferent to the process. If our churches are not making disciples then they are not accomplish the task given them by Jesus in The Great Commission.