Simple Church or Not?

Having nearly finished reading Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger I am confronted with the question: Is Berean doing too many things? Over and over again the authors present statistical proof that vibrant churches are doing less NOT more.

They use lots of illustrations to try and communicate their point—Google is presented as a shiny example of how simple is better. (By the way Jon, I wonder how a would look with a Google format.) The simplicity of an Ipod is another example they present.

I know in my heart we are doing too much but how do you change. Everyone has such a vested interest in their piece of the pie and tradition is strong in Berean.

For example, I know it would be better to combine our Thursday night FAITH evangelism into our Wednesday night service, but how about those who think the Apostle Paul started the three services a week plan 2000 years ago. What will their reaction be? No preacher wants to lose a member over such a thing yet can anyone really lead an organization based on fear of losing members or participants.

I know it would be effective. I know more people could be involved. I know it would serve as a means of combining discipleship and outreach into the same night and give back a night to families who desperately need time. I know we would find more people home. In the past, anytime we hosted a meal before the service it was always a big success. I wonder could we start each Wednesday out with a low cost meal so that families would not have to rush home to eat or leave the house a mess to get to church in time. I wonder would we be more effective if more effort was directed to discipleship. What if FAITH teams visited the same people over and over again until they grew spiritually or were told never come back? I wonder what if we brought the Bible study to those who will not come to the Bible study. Again I am serious. What if my Wednesday night service/ministry was meeting with someone at their home week after week for personal discipleship until they were connected and growing. Is it reasonable to consider the idea that I would eat dinner at the church, drop off my son to AWANAs and then head directly to a particular home for a 30 minute devotion/Bible study/discipleship time?

And surely most who now participate in FAITH would enjoy having Thursday nights off. Imagine a single adult at Berean, on Tuesdays they go to a Bible study at church, on Wednesdays they work AWANA or go to the main service, on Thursdays they participate in FAITH and on Fridays they go to RU. Somehow they are expected to work in a date night so they don’t stay single their entire life. No seriously—are we doing too much.

Let’s make sure we define success the same way. Success is not seeing/hearing someone profess Christ through a prayer. Success according to Christ is making disciples who are reproducing themselves. So if I led two people to the Lord each year and spent the rest of the time discipling them would that be success. I think the answer is an unequivocal—Yes.

What do you think?


  1. Dear Pastor Sean'
    Good morning Sir.
    I will voice my opinion as single person about whether if we are doing too much or not in our church, in that respect my answer is yes and no.
    I say "yes, and I agree with you when you wrote this:
    "Imagine a single adult at Berean, on Tuesdays they go to a Bible study at church, on Wednesdays they work AWANA or go to the main service, on Thursdays they participate in FAITH and on Fridays they go to RU. Somehow they are expected to work in a date night so they don’t stay single their entire life. No seriously—are we doing too much." Yes, there are many of my singles friends that do this, but they enjoy being involved in different ministries of the church, and dating has been put in the last item of the life itenary. Nevertheless, they probably should have a night off an invest wisely some time in this area of their life.

    I said" no" we are not doing too much by having all these opportunities during the week to serve God, and being involved in the church, because in my case I have a very busy schedule, and the only time I can go to church is on Tuesday, some Wednesday, and I am hoping to get the opportunity to go on a Faith very soon. Unfortunately I can't go to Sunday school,and some Sunday I barely make it to the evening service because of my work schedule.So if our church didn't have all these opportunities during the week, my spiritual tank will go empty.
    This is just my opinion as single person, and I do see the other side of your subject when it comes to family time for other member of our church, and yourself as well.

    Thank you so much for lettings us voice our opinions.

    Respectfully yours,

    Viana Romero

  2. Amen and Amen!

    More is not always better! And activity does not always equate success. Thanks to God for your leadership!


  3. Pastor Sean...

    I am a former member of BBC. I love BBC and wish desperatly that I could be apart of such a great group of Christians. I agree with Viana...I was at the Church 4-5 times a week! But I loved every moment that I was there! It felt like home...those walls gave me a desire to serve God and for a Single adult it held my attention where it should be. I am greatful for everything that BBC staff and members did for my spiritual growth! I will pray for wisdom in this area.

    With Love in Christ!


  4. Dear Pastor Sean,
    I have served as a Sunday school teacher for a few years, plus helped in Nursery. I started FAITH in the very beginning of the program. FAITH dispicling really pushes me to grow spiritaully.With all of these ministries that i am involved with, it would be very hard for me to do without all of the services that i am able to attend.
    i also work a full time job, and out of all the things that i do this one taxes me the most spiritually. It would be much more difficult for me to keep my spiritual footing with out all of the services that i am able to attend. i couldn't even enagine how hard it would be if i had to miss a Wednesday night service.
    And as a mom with a young lady and a young man, i would hope that they would meet their future mate in on of the ministires that are young people are involved with. I have learned alot of things about other people in ministry situations.
    All of us have to choose which ministies that the LORD is leading us to serve in. Don't take our choices away from us.
    Thankfully serving,

  5. Amen to giving days back to the singles and the families as well. Why is no one in FAITH this semester ??? Everyone has too much going on ..... RU, bible studies, singles fellowship, Awana ... there are no days of rest in more. I committed to FAITH for this semester and have yet to make it make it but every MOnday I say I am going to get to FAITH this week. We are serving our way right out of a relationship with Christ. I have struggled for the last year with serving and how serving has taken the place of my private time with the Lord. Service has become my "idol" .... we are all Martha's and have forgotten how to be Mary's.
    I agree that simple is better...

  6. Hello Pastor Sean,

    I haven't been here long, but I think that the more oppurtunities we have at church. the better. I think that the best place to be with family is at church, or a church function. This leaves little time for idleness or watching the tube. Members of the congregation are not pressured into attending everything. I had a chance to attend a church in Alaska where we did have a meal on wednesdays and we did have soulwinning, and then we invited people to church while we were out knocking on doors. We also had a great commission night where we did have visitation, but also letter writing time to the missionaries, and discipleship time, and other misc classes. I do think that we should stay busy, but also have times to rest. It gives me joy knowing that I can do something else for the Lord. I think that church isn't just about edification to the members. but how can the congregation serve others in the community, so that they can see Jesus in all that we do.