Simple Church (part 3)

December 1, 2011

Notes from Chapters Three & Four:

Spiritual growth is a process. It always has been. Thus, it would make sense for church leaders to design their churches around the process of spiritual growth (p. 59).

They are talking about a design for discipleship. A design of church ministry. How a church is designed and structured so people can be transformed by God’s grace (p. 59).

In First Corinthians 3 believers are called God’s children (v. 1), God’s field (v. 9), God’s building (v. 9). Children, fields and buildings grow in process. Not only do simple church leaders understand that spiritual transformation is a process, but they also respond to this reality (p. 60).

What is the definition of a Simple Church? A simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth (p.60).

There is a highly significant relationship between a simple church design and the growth and vitality of a local church. A simple church strategy is effective (p. 67).

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) (p. 68).

Clarity – Movement – Alignment – Focus (p. 68ff)

Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people…it eliminates confusion (p. 70).

Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment…it is about assimilation (p. 72). Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment (p.73).

Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process (p. 74).

Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process (p. 76).

While movement is the most difficult simple church element to understand, focus is the most difficult to implement (p. 76).

The last half of the book will deal with these four steps.

In chapter four, the authors give us some real life examples. One I found particularly interesting involved the content of the adult Bible fellowships coinciding with the message in the worship service. The pastor writes what he calls “coordinates” each week that supplement his message. The Bible fellowship leaders use these coordinates as curriculum. The pastor is able to invite the people at the worship service to attend a Bible fellowship “to get more information and go deeper.” (p.89)

“Bible fellowship” or small groups are offered on Sunday Morning, Wednesday nights, and in homes during the week (p. 95).

An example of a simple process is (1) come to a worship service, (2) be in a small group, and (3) serve in a ministry (p.95).

Simple churches reject the menu philosophy of ministry that encourages church leaders to offer huge menus of programs. The authors believe ministry is done poorly in most churches. It is impossible to do things with excellence when energy and attention are divided. These churches have an inability to focus (p. 103).

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