This is another book I’ve had for a while, and am just getting around to reading. As usual Thom Rainer does not disappoint, and not only that, Simple Church has a lot to do with our monthly theme, clarity. Don’t tell me God doesn’t guide my reading!
What Rainer and Geiger describe is not a new church model — it’s about designing a process for discipleship. That process should be simple, and involves four key steps and words:
- Design a simple process that has clarity — it should be easy to communicate and for people to understand
- Place your key programs along the process so that they encourage movement toward the goal of spiritual maturity
- Align and unite all church ministries around the process
- Develop focus by eliminating things (even good ones) that fall outside of the process
The authors make the point that many church leaders and members are involved in so many programs that they have little time for real ministry. The programs often compete with one another, and lack an intentional process for spiritual growth. Becoming a “simple” church may actually involve eliminating activities that do little to further true growth in discipleship.
There are examples from real churches and quite a bit of statistical jargon and information (the authors admit to being research “nerds”). I found their arguments logical and compelling. It is an interesting perspective and one I had never considered. As a member of a small congregation where many are scrambling to get things done, the idea that less is more is certainly appealing!
The point is made that the process is not necessarily easy. When congregations have become “complex” it is difficult to eliminate programs because of their history and the attachments people have to them. It requires prayer and movement that is fast enough, but not too fast. In other words, handle with prayer!
VERDICT: 5 STARS. Well worth considering for pastors and leaders.
For more books by Thom Rainer see these posts: