Acts 4:20 “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
o Process driven churches that had determined what new attendees needed to do “next”
The American Church in decline…
o Three numbers:
o 82%--percentage of American churches in absolute decline during the previous 5 years.
o 91%--percentage of churches declining or growing slower than the community is growing.
o 99+%--percentage of churches making no significant impact in the non-Christian/unChristian population.
o The church has become program and activity driven.
o The issue is when the program/activity become the ends rather than the means.
o Timidity Model: Step lightly and fearfully.
o Transaction Model: means of exchange for service.
o Transformational Model: goal is lives transformed in their walk with Christ.
o In churches where people were coming and staying and active for more than five years had a common theme:
§ People understood their mission statement as the path to discipleship.
§ What if it was so simple that anyone could learn it.
§ An effective mission statement should help people understand the minimal beginnings to becoming a more Christian.
§ If somebody is only involved in worship, in five years only 16% of them remain.
§ If they are involved in worship and small groups 83% of them remain active.
§ Definition of expectations. Involvement in at least one mission/ministry every year. If they are involved in worship, small group, and a mission/ministry 94% remain active after five years.
o Clear mission statement that is also a process of discipleship.
Relational intentionality is rare:
- Only 7% of people in churches were intentionally building relationships outside the church.
- 38% of unchurched are receptive to the Christian faith (60,000,0000+ are receptive to becoming a Christian). The issue is not that the fields aren’t ready, it is that the workers are staying home and not going out.
- Lifewayresearch.com—The millennial generation (born 1980-2000) is/will be a dramatic and new challenge for American churches. The largest generation in American history.
- Millenial Generation
- 15% are Christian.
- They want authenticity & transparency.
- They want to connect with others. They are the texting/Facebook generation. Their phone is their lifeline. More deaths in autos by texting than by alcohol.
- They are not “anti-Christian” they are simply indifferent.
The Process of Becoming a Simple Church
o A Simple Church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through a process of spiritual formation.
o Designed: it is an intentional process. Begins with a vision/mission/purpose statement. So the church would know who they are and what they are called to do. In all churches was simple.
o Prayer Centered transformation.
o Acts 2:41—“devoted themselves”—devoted means to consume hungrily. Meaning to the order of the direction of the activities.
§ Proclamation of the message and baptism.
§ Apostles’ teaching—study of scriptures
§ The fellowship—sharing in community.
§ The breaking of bread—Eucharist.
§ Prayer—the central activity.
o Straightforward: easily understood and easily memorized. Redundant in the community.
o Strategic: refers to what you want to accomplish and how you desire to accomplish it. Matthew 20:19—strategy to make disciples, not just decisions. What gets measured gets done. Make certain you reward the behavior you desire.
o Process: developing a plan (process) to measure based upon your mission statement. Creation a dashboard of measurements.
o People: the central focus is that people are becoming more mature followers of Christ. Deeper spiritual formation. If more people are engaged in connecting to Christ, community, and calling, then more people will become more like Christ.
Simple Church Process: Clarity>Movement>Alignment>Focus
o Clarity—the ability of the process of the process to be articulated and understood by the people.
o Movement—presumption that discipleship is not a static or stagnant process. The sequential steps in the process that cause people to take steps to greater areas of commitment. Necessity of a defined process for MOVING people into community. Intentional, personal, and “staffed” to focus on issue of mission.
o Alignment—the arrangement of all ministry, programs and staff around the simple process. All ministries will line up under one of the three areas of mission. If you have things that are out of alignment, you can eliminate it; align it; or leave it alone.
o Focus—the commitment to abandon all that falls outside the simple ministry process. Decision about where the pain point is to provide clear focus for ministry.
o Clarity—describe the purpose as a process.
o Movement—removing congestion. Find ways to help people succeed. Critical importance of an entry point.
o Alignment—do all the programs/ministries/activities fit the statement of clarity?
o Focus—deal with everything that is out of focus. Move incrementally.
Research revealed four basics minimal components
o Emphasis on being in a weekly, open group.
o Emphasis on being in at least one closed group per year.
o Involvement in external mission/ministry per year.
o Absolute necessity of an entry point to be clear and provide movement.
o Usually about 4 hours and Saturday or Sunday. Importance of entry point class.
o Communicate expectations of what it means to be a member of the local church.
o Establishing minimal expectations allows the exit of those who do not affirm the direction of the church. You tend to get the kind of members you expect to get.
Perspective—its all a matter of perspective.
The Results of a Simple Church
- A simple process is designed. What are the minimal expectations?
- Current programs and ministries fit the simple process.
- Communication venues are established. Every component should be able to communicate its placement in alignment. Clear redundant communication.
- Two keys: entry point and redundancy communication. Entry point class provides information and expectations.
- The “good” is eliminated for the “great.” Breakout Churches
- Simple Church yields unity in the body. Conflict decreases after the Simple Church process is implemented.
- True disciple making—getting more like Jesus.
- Attracts the unchurched non-Christian.
- The Millennials are drown to simple churches. The are waiting on us to act like Christians, then they will come.
- Incrementalism allows acceptance by most.
- Complexity is out. Simplicity is in…simple—clear and uncomplicated, not without effort
Join the Simple Revolution!