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Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples Hardcover – June 1, 2006
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About the Author
Thom S. Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the largest Christian resource companies in the world. He is also a best-selling author and leading expert in the field of church research. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons and live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Eric Geiger serves as one of the Vice Presidents at LifeWay Christian Resources, leading the Resources Division. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including Creature of the Word and the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church.
Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.
Top customer reviews
Here are some of the highlights from my reading:
"Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom."
"Many of our churches have become cluttered. So cluttered that people have a difficult time encountering the simple and powerful message of Christ."
"Great amounts of activity do not produce life change. It only gives the impression that things are happening, that there is life."
"If the purpose is hazy, the process for making the purpose happen has not entered the picture."
"If the goal is to keep certain things going, the church is in trouble. The end result must always be about people. Programs should only be tools."
"The goal is to partner with God to move people through the stages of spiritual growth. Changed lives are the bottom line, the intended end result. Christ formed in people is the goal."
"The first group consisted of growing and healthy churches. These churches had grown 5 percent a year for three consecutive years. Few churches do that. Sadly, less than 2 percent of all churches in America experience that type of consistent growth."
"Some churches are not clear on a ministry process because they do not have one."
"Focus does not make church leaders popular."
"To be simple you have to eliminate the unnecessary. Most of the things you eliminate will be good things. They were started with a passionate leader and a perceived or real need."
"People will not live out something they cannot remember."
"When you are tired of talking about it, people will just be in the first stages of understanding."
"Sadly, in many churches people are stuck in the same place spiritually. And there is no intentional process to move them."
"You must begin with the process, not the programs... If the programs do not fit into your process, you need to eliminate them."
"Choose one program for each phase of your process... Multiple programs for each phase of the process divide attention and energy."
"Church leaders must avoid the two extremes of micromanagement and neglect. Micromanagement stifles creativity and hampers shared leadership. Neglect fosters complacency and leads to a fragmented team."
"One would think that the more programs and the more special events that are offered, the great the impact. Our research has confirmed that the opposite is true."
"The churches that experienced the highest percentages of growth were the churches that offered fewer programs."
"The majority of churches choose not to change. They would rather die. Tragically, in most churches, the pain of change is greater than the pain of ineffectiveness."
Simple Church is filled with research, examples and actual churches that show the simple approach works! Don't misunderstand and think that "Simple" means easy. In ministry we deal with people which makes things messy but the approach proposed in this book works because it's what the N.T. church used.... a simple, uncluttered, but often uncomfortable approach.
I believe this book is a must have for every church planter and every pastor.
Like many church and business books there is a often a very good kernel that might be explained in a long article but instead it is expanded to book length.
What is here is good. The basic thesis is that churches that simplify and focus their disciple-making structure not only do a better job at creating disciples, are more effective and evangelism and are better at creating deep disciples.
The study and the corresponding study and graphs are pretty impressive. However, what I noticed is not that the authors are not correct in their reasoning (that simple churches are more effective), but that it only explains a portion of the success. A large group of churches are not simple and still doing well. And many simple church are also not doing well. So are the authors correct to suggest that on average many churches would be better off being more simple? Yes, does that explain it all? No.
That said, I believe the authors should have been more prescriptive about the fact that 'small groups'/'care groups' as a Biblically necessary part of being 'simple'. I'd bet that a statistical analysis of their churches will show small groups to be highly significant to a vibrant church. I don't see how one could have an authentic and simple church without having small groups as the church grows in size.
Secondly, though no fault of the authors, another prescriptive key to being 'simple' is the regaining of the centrality of family in church structures including the small groups. For this, one need to read some of the cutting edge writing arising out of the homeschool movement.
Most recent customer reviews
Simple Church is a very good and helpful book. It adds value not only to the individual reader but to The Church Christ died to redeem.Read more