I don’t usually write about the church. I spend all day, most days thinking, praying, leading, shepherding and working in and for the local church. So, honestly to write about it in my free time is not real inspiring.
That said, from time to time I can’t stay silent. Something creeps up over the back of my neck and around up into my frontal lobe. That slithering idea is one that I haven’t been able to shake off.
A while back I read a quote that remains on the dry erase board in my office today.
“To be simple is to be great.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Evidentially, not many in the local church have ever heard of Emerson. Several years back a couple of prolific Christian authors wrote the book Simple Church. While I appreciate their heart and their message, ironically they wrote a 250 page book on the subject.
What happened to simple?
We have a magazine called Real Simple magazine which recently posted “9 Ways To Be Happy” on their website. That was one article alongside “Creative Dessert Table Ideas.” What? None of this seems simple.
After 15 years of full-time pastoring and serving in a local church, I’ve recognized a pattern. That pattern is to complicate what we do. With all the sermon application points, To Do lists, strategic initiatives, people to manage and conference notebooks full of ideas we become churchlicated.
We spend hours debating the usage of a single word. We develop projects and plans that never get implemented. We march deep into philosophical and theological battlefronts. We wander in and out of our week missing the significance of life itself. We build up ministry plans that rival the business plans of Fortune 500 companies. We get lost in the forest and don’t see the trees.
And that’s just me!
All of us need to remind ourselves of that old and cheesy acronym. We need to KISS and Keep It Simple Stupid.
One of Emerson’s flaws was to focus on the greatness of the individual, rather than the interdependence of the community. As we rely on God and each other, we recognize nothing is as complicated as it seems.
Define simple in your life, work, ministry. Don’t let anyone pry it out of your fingers.