Simple Church – Chapter 8
March 8, 2008 1 Comment
Staying focused is essential to being simple, and a church cannot stay focused without saying no.
Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process.
After you have designed and implemented the simple process you must maintain it. There will be pressures and temptations to add things back that are outside the simple process. We must remain focused at this point or we will fall back into our old ways. The authors give us 5 keys to remaining focused in this chapter. They are:
- Eliminate nonessential programs
- Limit adding more programs
- Reduce special events
- Ensure the process is easy to communicate
- Ensure the process is easy to understand
When it comes to eliminating programs you are sure to step on someone’s toes. Someone is sure to say something like “we have always do it this way” or “we can’t stop this program because ______ (fill in the person’s name) will get mad.” The author’s make the point that eliminating non-essential programs is a stewardship process. They say “it is choosing to be wise with the time and resources God has given.” (p. 207)
Next we must be reluctant to add new programs. The authors state that complex churches are program-centered while simple churches are process-centered. Everything should run through the existing simple process. We can always add new options within the process without adding new programs. Adding new options does not divide our focus while adding new programs does.
Most churches put on numerous special events. You know what the standards are…a Christmas program, an Easter program, and Vacation Bible School, etc. There is nothing wrong with these programs but they split our focus and drain our resources. The special events require extra time for our people to prepare. They take the focus away from the process. Our people only have a certain amount of time and energy. We need to be leary of anything that divides their focus.
The last two go together. Our process needs to be easy to communicate and easy to understand. People will not be focused on things they don’t understand. “Understanding leads to focus and commitment.” (p.223) To maintain focus we must communicate the process often and in various ways. Understanding the process makes it easier for the people as the church goes through the process. When the everyday members can explain the process that is a good indication of understanding.