Simple Church (part four)

December 8, 2011

Simple Church: Returning to God’s process for making disciples
© 2011 by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger
Published by B&H Publishing Group
281 pages

The authors define a simple church as “a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth” (p. 186).

To have a simple church, leaders must ensure that everything their church does fits together to produce life change. They must design a simple process that pulls everything together, a simple process that moves people toward spiritual maturity (p. 26).

In this book they authors are encouraging us to design a process for discipleship. They key word of this book is “process.” Simple only comes into play because a complicated or complex process does not produce the desired result.

To help us design this process the last half of the book focuses on four elements: Clarity, Movement, Alignment and Focus. These four must flow. Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people. It eliminates confusion. Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process. Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process.

“A simple church is designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. 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 tin the process (focus)” (p.67).

Chapter Five explains Clarity:

Five keys to clarity
1. Define
Church leaders must define more than the purpose (the what); they must also define the process (the how). People within a church must know the process because they are integral to fulfilling it. A clearly defined process encourages people to progress through it because they know the expectation. People cannot embrace the ambiguous (p. 114).

2. Illustrate
If you want your church members to see you simple process clearly, you must illustrate it (p. 116). The simple process is more likely to resonate with each person if it is visual (p.117). Choose a visual illustration for your process (p.119).

3. Measure
Our research also reveals that measuring your process is critical. Measuring helps bring clarity (p. 120). What gets evaluated gets done (p. 121).

4. Discuss
Discussion will lead to understanding and ownership with the leaders (p.126). When the process starts to feel old, brainstorm fresh ways to communicate it (p. 128).

5. Increase Understanding
They continually and intentionally confirm that their church members have a clear understanding of their process (p. 129). When you are tired of talking about it, people will just be in the first stages of understanding (p. 131). Share real stories of real people with real names (p. 131).

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