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If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘professional’ issues are that pastors deal with weekly, what many of their struggles and insecurities are developed objectively out of, then this chapter is a good read for you. It will give you a peak at the big picture business questions we raise and wrestle with individually and corporately. Le me preface my summary of it by saying I really enjoyed it and found myself saying “opsy that’s me with mud on my face!”

Simple Church 02 THE SIMPEL (AND NOT-SO-SIMPLE) CHURCH IN ACTION

Eric and Thom are Floridians, as my wife and I are!!! This book just moved from collard greens to the smooky ribs on my plate. T & E open the chapter by saying there are somethings in life that you just have to experience to really appreciate, Florida weather is one of them…and so are simple churches. In order to offer their readers this experience they have included in each copy of the book first class tickets to Miami! Kidding 🙂 What they’ve done is take you and I through their interview of two very different churches, though from a distance they may look similar. First Church which stands for your program-complex churches, and Cross Church which stands for your simple church are laid bare before our eyes, T & E are hoping we’ll see ourselves in one or both of them and by that see our need for simplicity.

Quick questions that helped me summarize their chapters concers: How do church assesment teams review churches? And what was the process of T & E’s journey with these two churches? Well they start out by looking at the churches official statements and then inteview their pastors and leaders; from here they look at the churches approach to programming and staff meetings – which include of course their calenders, as well as the way they assess their numbers, and deal with new ideas; another area they studies was the staffing values of each church; and finally they closed out their time with the way each church presented their weekly anouncements. Here’s the comparison in table form;

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If there is a key to being a Simple Church it is this, ” Our purpose is our process.” If your purpose is your process every other area of normal ministerial assesment will reflect it, and must be evaluated in light of it. A Simple chapter by T & E, but a very challenging call for change. If you’re not a Simple Church and you want to become one then all your areas of ministry will be feeling some form of change – even possibly your current staffing, yikes!

Afterthoughts:

As I’ve already said I found this chapter extremely helpful, it put me on the ground with them, allowing me to see a big picture view of a program driven church and a simple church. From my own tradition one of their developments I found extremely interesting was their choice to focus on discipleship as the key to being a Simple Church (more on this in their next chapter). I can’t help asking what a simple church would look like that also held to the marks of the church clarified during the Reformation? Perhaps its just me but emphasis in the life of the church today seems to have shifted away from Sacraments as the vehicle were community is expressed to small groups. I’ll be honest here my own interest in serious study of Sacramentology is lacking, I’m much more interested in small groups as they relate to the life of the church. Nevertheless we can never forget that Christ’ own gift to his bride were the Sacraments to foster and celebrate our collective union in him.