I will often use the term "simple church" (sometimes "organic church") as I try to orient someone to our church practices. From the outset, I want to clarify what I mean when I use that description.
(Note: Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger actually wrote a book by the title of Simple Church that doesn't exactly fit the description of what I am talking about here. Many authors and pastors use the term while still operating out of assumptions inherent in the traditional, or conventional, church structure. That system is, in and of itself, not that simple. On the contrary, it is inherently complex.)
For me, the distinguishing characteristic of simplicity is reproducibility. In other words, something is simple when it is easily reproducible by others. You will hear me return to this idea often, especially when it comes to practices or routines used in meetings and teachings concerning children.
Mission is the first and most critical issue for us to simplify and unite around. Because it should not take that long to express the supreme goal and priority of our purpose, I challenge myself to communicate our community's mission in less than a minute. It starts with a short phrase or sentence that explains why we exist.
(Note: As much as following a business model or corporate plan bothers me in the church world, I will concede that it has helped in one area. Businesses are better at narrowing and focusing on a single vision, and more importantly, communicating that vision in a simple way. That particular practice is one of the few things the church can hold on to, as long as it does not water down the message.)
As we move forward, here is our simple and reproducible mission and plan.
Mission in a Minute
We want to be a movement making disciples that make disciples.
We use the word movement to remind ourselves that we are advancing, progressing, developing, and mobilizing for action. We are going, not staying. The opposite of movement is indifference and stagnation.
We say that we are making disciples that make disciples because that is our fundamental call from God. It is our way of saying that we want to act like Jesus so that others will want to act like Jesus, which in turn will make a positive impact on the world with love, truth, and freedom.
Here is a video of me sharing our mission.
This is our mission - why we exist and what we hope to achieve.
How we carry out our mission is our Plan (that can fit on less than one page) - how we carry out the mission, which I will get to next time.