I just started reading a new book by Thom Ranier and I’m already excited about it! (Thanks Jenni for the B-Day Book) Simple Church: Returning to God’s process for Making Disciples. Just a few months ago, I finished his excellent book Breakout Churches, which conceptually was based on the business research by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Dr. Ranier studied churches all over America and only found 13 that fit his criteria for a breakout church. The churches had to breakout of a decline or plateau in growth, they had to be committed to evangelism evidenced by conversion growth, and they had to make the change under the same leadership. It gave me hope for churches that are struggling or just starting out. Even Cornerstone has really just been holding steady as we get organized and decided what type of church we want to be. We need to breakout of our rut and become focused on making a difference for the Kingdom.
Now this book is out, and it really hits us right where we are as a church. We complicate so many things, sometimes we just need to simplify and focus on the essentials. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about “what is the purpose and function of the church” and “how do we make disciples”. This is a book about having a common purpose and having a united effort as a church. You can have a ‘Simple’ church without being ‘Simplistic’ An organized church without being paralyzed by structure. It is not a book on a methodology, but a book to help churches realize the big picture of what they are doing. I’ve already ordered more for the elders to read with me. Here is the info from the book jacket.
The simple revolution has begun. From the design of the iPod to the uncluttered Google home page, simple ideas are changing the world.
Simple Church clearly calls for Christians to return to the simple gospel-sharing methods of Jesus. No bells or whistles required, so to speak. Based on case studies of four hundred American churches, authors Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger prove that the process for making disciples has quite often become too complex. Simple churches are thriving, and they are doing so by taking these four ideas to heart:
Clarity. Movement. Alignment. Focus.
Each idea is examined here, simply showing why it is time to simplify.