As I have mentioned before I am a devotee of the simple church concept (see here). I don’t think churches should be complicated, over-programmed, or keep people too busy. But it is a daunting task to actually convince people of the benefits of keeping a church simple.
Churches typically have such a full menu of programs and activities that would make the average cruise ship activities director envious. There are men’s groups, women’s groups, singles groups, college groups, newly married groups, coffee shops, concerts, parents ministry, senior citizens ministry, counseling ministry, recovery ministry, midweek services, Sunday night services, classes, field trips, small groups, softball teams, outreach events, and the list goes on.
The question for me is: do we even know why we are doing them? Do they serve a real purpose – say, towards making disciples – or are we doing them because someone somewhere decided that’s how church is supposed to be done?
I know the expectations of church shoppers are quite high and the competition is stiff. If the church down the street has a gymnasium, we’d better think about a building program to keep up. We don’t want to lose families who have athletic kids. The pressure is incredible – we have to keep doing more, producing more, and constantly thinking up fresh ideas to retain our visitors or they might not return.
My point is that many of the expectations people have (of churches) are not even based on the Bible. Church leaders, in response to these expectations, get on a treadmill of busyness in an attempt to meet the perceived needs of people. Combined, it becomes an endless cycle of unbiblical duties.
The goal of the church is to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) – nothing else. There is no Plan B. And for those who are successfully discipled…. “it is enough” for them to simply be like Jesus (see Matthew 10:25a above). They are perfectly content to be like their Lord. They don’t need a full list of activities on the church menu, smoke bombs, light shows, cutting edge technology, or a church baseball team to keep them in church. The pursuit of Jesus is enough for them.