1) We should keep it simple so the greatest in the kingdom don't get confused. We are actually commanded to become more like children.
"Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. “I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me." (Matt 18:3-4 HCSB)If we've made something so complex that children have a hard time understanding or replicating it, maybe we are the ones missing something.
2) Recognize that church is simply people - the body of Christ, the family of God. With a little church etymology we see that in Scripture the term 'church' did not refer to buildings, institutions, or Sunday morning programs. It simply referred to believers and whenever they got together. Belonging to Christ's church is more like belonging to a tribe or people group than like belonging to a club or organization.
3) Consider every moment with others a moment to teach. You don't need to prepare sermons, study books or DVD's to teach one another. We see mostly interactive teaching in the New Testament. Teaching others may be simpler than you think.
4) Recognize you have a role to play in disciple making. I used to think of discipleship as a program or branch of the church that some people got involved with. But we should consider how each of us can make disciples of Christ. We can watch how Jesus made disciples through living in simple relationships with others. Discipleship may be simpler than we think.
5) Consider how you can be a pastor or shepherd, one who cares for the needs of others. Are there people in your life that you care for, give guidance, and build up so they mature in their relationship with Christ? This may be the basics of shepherding.
6) Understand that SMALL is sometimes big. Just consider how rabbits reproduce a lot quicker than elephants. The same principle may apply to church growth. Small simple gatherings will be easier to reproduce than larger structures. Many new small gatherings of believers can be started without multimillion dollar fundraising campaigns. Yes this seems like upside-down thinking, but so was a lot of Jesus' teachings about His kingdom.
7) Leadership does not always mean decision making. I see two different types of leaders. There are those that make decisions for others, and claim authority to impose their will on others. However others lead simply by living as an example that others follow. This second type of leading seems to fit better with what Jesus says in passages like Matt 20:25-28, Matt 23:8-12, Luke 22:24-27, Matt 19:30, Matt 20:16, Mark 9:35, and Luke 13:30. Consider taking some leadership lessons from this dancing guy video.
8) You may want to consider taking a break from serving church programs. Scripture is clear we need to serve and care for people. If you find programs keep you too busy to focus on people, you may want to say no to some activities so you can better serve and love the church (the people). Could less busy = improved relationships?
9) Simplify your list of essentials. Christians tend to only accept other believers who agree to their list of essentials. Unfortunately many lists of essentials include doctrines that have divided the church over the years. I find by recognizing that love is essential, and unity is essential, I am no longer in a position to judge others over many other disputable matters.
My head is often spinning when I look at church history, and the many church traditions we have today. But I am finding some clarity when I think of church in simpler terms.
I hope this simple list of how to KISS is helpful to some of you.
Have I missed anything?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
- What is Simple Church
- Love Feast
- Church Etymology
- Small Is Big
- Caring For Others Is Essential
- Interactive Teaching in the New Testament