The Simple Church is a book, as the subtitle states, about returning to God’s process for making disciples. In the simple church, church leaders are designers who must design a simple discipleship process. That is the thought that hit me like Mohammed Ali’s old right lead. Does our church have a process for making disciples out of new converts? Does your church? If it does, please share this process in your comments.
The authors, Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, record their visits with two churches, one was complex with multiple programs and the other was simple with fewer ministries. The simple churches researched, beyond the one used as an example, were more often growing and producing disciples. When asked how the church made disciples out of new converts the complex churches more often could not answer. Even though the complex church had a mission statement, a purpose statement, a vision statement, and a strategy statement, they did not have a simple process for making disciples.
The simple church, which had no mission, purpose, vision, nor strategy statements, did have a combined purpose and process statement: Their church was all about “loving God, loving people, and serving the world.” Loving God took place in the worship service, loving others took place in the small groups, and serving the world took place in the ministry teams. The purpose and process were the same. Move new converts from worship to small groups to ministry teams.
Morgan Spurlock ate only at McDonalds for 30 days and produced the low budget documentary Super-Size Me. Of course, Spurlock got Super-Sized. He gained 25 pounds and wrecked his health. His blood sugar and blood pressure skyrocketed and his liver filled with fat. All three of the medical doctors monitoring him advised him to stop his high fat diet. One scene reveals the success of McDonalds’ marketing and impact on the next generation. Spurlock met with schoolchildren and held up pictures of famous people to see if the children could name them. Spurlock held up a picture of George Washington and some but not all of the children recognized him. All of the children very excitedly identified Ronald McDonald. None of the children, however, recognized a picture of Jesus Christ. McDonalds is not to be blamed for this lack of knowledge. The church is to be blamed. McDonalds is doing a more effective job at selling its product than we are at discipling the generation that will take our place.
Does our community know who Jesus is because of our simple but effective ministries of connecting them to God in our worship services, assimilating them into the life of our church through small groups so they can learn God’s Word and build strong relationships, and then equiping them to serve through our ministry teams? Who is more powerfully impacting our community? McDonalds or our local church? It is our privilege and stewardship to not only get people to recognize Jesus’ picture but to know Him as Lord and Savior.