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The story of Nehemiah is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament.  It’s about a man who tackled a huge problem.

When he heard the report from his homeland – a city hundreds of miles away and one he probably never visited, Nehemiah decided to take action.

He had to deal with security, education, and economic issue to put together a group of people to rebuild the city walls.

Nehemiah kept the mission and the vision simple.  Let’s rebuild the wall.

A sophisticated church is not one with a tremendous amount of programs and events but one with effective programs and ministries.  Things don’t need to be complex to work, in fact, complexity may hinder progress.

Nehemiah, a great leader, kept the focus on rebuilding the wall. He communicated the vision clearly and kept everyone focused on the mission.

Thom Rainer presents a case for simplicity in ministry in the book Simple Church.  He says the most effective churches have.

  • Clarity – a clear plan that works much like a set of blueprints.  Without a clear direction or plan, people will invent their own.  A clear goal will allow us to be able to focus on the win.
  • Movement – once the goal is laid out, you need a clear process.  What do we want people to do next?  Rainer says that most churches bog down in programs that do not accomplish the ultimate goal of the church.
  • Alignment – every ministry must be arranged around the simple and clear process.   A church is not a collection of ministries – each ministry must align around the focus of the entire organization.
  • Focus – Abandon everything else and eliminate the clutter.  Passionately pursue the things that will help us accomplish our goal, and say no to everything else.

What does this mean for your church?

Being a simple church is tough.  You will be tempted to add more ministries and programs.  Good people will have good ideas.  You won't want to say no.

But focusing on the most important things will help your church be more effective.  Limiting your focus and simplifying your programming will help you reach more people.

Here are some other implications:

  • When you make announcements in church on Sunday, limit it to one or two things that effect everyone in the room and push your church forward on the mission. This means you won’t be able to announce some good things.
  • During the worship service, choose a good mix of fresh songs and songs that people know. Let people leave humming the melody of one great worship song.
  • Sponsor at least one church plant and direct your financial resources there. $50 given to 50 different organizations will likely make little difference.
  • Encourage your staff to focus on their area of ministry and become experts. Get them coaching and help them connect with experts.

Let’s rebuild the wall.

That was Nehemiah’s mission and he kept his communication and focus there. Even though the job was difficult, it wasn’t complicated. The same can be true for your church as well.

So What's Next?

Feel like your church should be growing, but it's not?

Ultimately, church growth is up to God. Are we being good stewards of what He's given us? Are we doing everything we can to ensure our church is healthy? How do we overcome the barriers we feel are in front of us?

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