Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Vision of a Church Part Two--Radically Simple

I have a vision of a church: a very simple church.

Most churches fail to impliment the Jim Collins "Good to Great" system of confronting "the brutal facts." The churches rely on offhand comments or the staff's own views instead of a more objective tool like a spiritual survey. Therefore, most churches fail to see that their members are not being spiritually transformed and the staff becomes content with being busy. It is a sad state of affairs that the churches truly reaching the un-churched are church plants led by young, simple church designers while stagnating churches (including those growing only by adding members from dying churches) or declining churches are led by program managers.

Simple churches do not waste a lot of time and effort on purpose or mission statements. They simply adopt a version of the Great Commission. Moreover, according to Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger, in their groundbreaking book pictured to the left, "a simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth." The key four elements of a simple church are: clarity, movement, alignment and focus. Thus, an expanded definition of a simple church is a community "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 implimented in each area of the church (alignment). The church abandons everything that is not in the process (f0cus)."

To unpack this even further:

1) "Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people."

2) "Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of committment."

3) "Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process."

4) "Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process."

This is the practical outline of the vision I have for a church ready for a makeover or one built from the ground up. More on each step later.