Simple Church Conference

Last Friday I went to Baltimore with Pastor John Coleman from Church @ the Gathering Tree. We attended a conference at Streetlite Christian Fellowship, led by Eric Geiger. Geiger is the co-author, along with Thom Rainer, of Simple Church. Some takeaways from the conference:

  • If someone came to our church and asked a bunch of people: “What does winning in your church look like?,” we should all have the same answer.
  • A simple process for making disciples is prevalent in the most fruitful churches.
  • A scattered vision is no vision at all. An effective church will have a focused, cohesive vision.
  • When dealing with church process, two key words should be “streamline” and “simplify.”
  • Research shows a strong relationship between vibrant & evangelistic churches and the use of a simple process.
  • Avoid clutter! Don’t let church programs spring up like weeds. Make sure they move people forward in the discipleship process and are not there for their own sake. Don’t have competing programs.
  • Definition: A simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
  • “Simple” is important, but “process” is the key word.
  • Discipleship is not part of the process–discipleship IS the process!
  • The tendency to over-program in the early parts of the process can prevent people from moving to the later parts of the process.
  • Choose one program for each phase of the process. For example, in the community step of discipleship, don’t expect people to go to both Sunday School and a small group.
  • An overabundance of choices can keep people from making a decision at all.
  • Don’t take energy away from what is essential. Invest resources wisely.
  • Don’t collect Christians on a shelf in a warehouse. Send them out into the mission field!
  • Align people around the simple church process.
  • And a great Geiger quote: “Vision has to be preached. It can’t just be announced.”

One of the best takeaways for me came not from the conference itself, but from a conversation with John on the ride up to Baltimore. He said that he writes his sermons out in manuscript form in order to leave a legacy. He also made the interesting observation that many historical figures that we remember as theologians never thought of themselves as theologians and never intended to be theologians. They were simply preachers whose thoughts and teachings were preserved through their writings. Excellent insight! It definitely challenged me to be more intentional about writing out my sermons.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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