Pastor's Notes by Bro. Jay Hatfield
This month I want to share with you these notes from a book that I have been reading called Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. This is some pretty good information that I think we as a church need to put into practice.
Our world is not simple. We experience information and decision overload. As the world is getting smaller and smaller, things are getting more and more complex. In the midst of all the noise, all the rush, all the change, all the busyness, and all the uncertainty, people long for simplicity.
Ministry will never be easy. It is messy and difficult because people are messy and difficult.
If anyone knows simple, it is Jesus. He stepped into a complicated and polluted religious scene. The religious leaders had developed a religious system with 613 laws.
In the Jewish culture each rabbi had a yoke of teaching. His yoke was His instructions, His content, and His message. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus was offering grace. He was offering a simple relationship with God.
In the temple people had lost their focus. People were buying and selling in the temple. Jesus adamantly opposed to anything that gets in the way of people encountering Him. Many of our churches have become cluttered. So cluttered that people have a difficult time encountering the simple and powerful message of Christ.
If churches are not careful, they can become nothing more than a fancy coffin. Great amounts of activity do not produce life change. Only God is the producer of the growth of the church. Lets look at a simple process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Our Focus Must Be: To Lead People To Love God, Love Others, And Serve The World.
This statement is clear, concise, and it should be reinforced on every communication piece that a church has.
Problems are always bigger when everyone is tired. Spiritual transformation is a process. God wants disciples who will walk intimately with Jesus Christ, live in community with others, and serve both the church and the world.
So how do we put this idea into practice? The worship service helps me to love God more. My Small group is where I learn to really love others. My ministry is where I learn to put it all into practice by impacting others. If our goal is to keep certain things going, the church is in trouble. Our end result must always be about people, Programs are just tools.
Our first step in the process is to love God. The weekend worship services are used to help people do that. Worship should be inspiring and the preaching should be biblically dynamic. The second step in the process is to love others, so the next program is designed to help people connect relationally. Small groups are the best environment for people to love one another in a biblical community. The third step in the process is to serve the world, and ministry teams engage people in ministry. People enjoy camaraderie in a team environment while experiencing the joy of serving others. Some teams will focus on the church while others will focus on the community. The goal is to move people from program to program so people naturally progress through the process of spiritual transformation.