Thursday, April 17, 2008

Simple Church - one of the best books for church leaders ever written

Tony Morgan recently read the book Simple Church and commented on his blog about it. I read Simple Church while candidating for my current church, and to say that it had an impact on me would be like saying Minnesota has a few mosquitoes. Tony's thoughts are below. Last week I gave my copy of this book to one of the leaders of my church with the hope that he'll read it and it will inspire and challenge him like it did me.


I finally had a chance to read the book Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. It's been on my list for the last year or more, but I didn't prioritize it. I wish I had. Honestly, I think it's one of the top five books I've read on church ministry. This is one of those every-church-leader-should-read books. Great, great insights. I wish I would have written this book, because it certainly captures my heart for the local church.

Here are some of the highlights from my reading:
  • "Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom."
  • "Many of our churches have become cluttered. So cluttered that people have a difficult time encountering the simple and powerful message of Christ."
  • "Great amounts of activity do not produce life change. It only gives the impression that things are happening, that there is life."
  • "If the purpose is hazy, the process for making the purpose happen has not entered the picture."
  • "If the goal is to keep certain things going, the church is in trouble. The end result must always be about people. Programs should only be tools."
  • "The goal is to partner with God to move people through the stages of spiritual growth. Changed lives are the bottom line, the intended end result. Christ formed in people is the goal."
  • "The first group consisted of growing and healthy churches. These churches had grown 5 percent a year for three consecutive years. Few churches do that. Sadly, less than 2 percent of all churches in America experience that type of consistent growth."
  • "Some churches are not clear on a ministry process because they do not have one."
  • "Focus does not make church leaders popular."
  • "To be simple you have to eliminate the unnecessary. Most of the things you eliminate will be good things. They were started with a passionate leader and a perceived or real need."
  • "People will not live out something they cannot remember."
  • "When you are tired of talking about it, people will just be in the first stages of understanding."
  • "Sadly, in many churches people are stuck in the same place spiritually. And there is no intentional process to move them."
  • "You must begin with the process, not the programs... If the programs do not fit into your process, you need to eliminate them."
  • "Choose one program for each phase of your process... Multiple programs for each phase of the process divide attention and energy."
  • "Church leaders must avoid the two extremes of micromanagement and neglect. Micromanagement stifles creativity and hampers shared leadership. Neglect fosters complacency and leads to a fragmented team."
  • "One would think that the more programs and the more special events that are offered, the great the impact. Our research has confirmed that the opposite is true."
  • "The churches that experienced the highest percentages of growth were the churches that offered fewer programs."
  • "The majority of churches choose not to change. They would rather die. Tragically, in most churches, the pain of change is greater than the pain of ineffectiveness."

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