Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.89 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples Paperback – June, 2011
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
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 three grandchildren 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.
Based on a study of 88 churches, this production discusses the concept of simplicity as it relates to spirituality. The authors compare church attendance to inviting guests into one's home. In a melodious baritone, Grover Gardner delivers their description of how guests arrive in the entryway, which is like the church foyer. They then liken guests in the living room to church attendees sitting in pews for a sermon. When the house guests become friends, they say, they're invited into the kitchen, and they liken that to attendees joining the church and becoming involved with the ministry. Gardner narrates with full attention to details as he interprets the authors' urging that churches return to simple methods of sharing the gospel. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This is the thesis behind Rainer and Geiger's book about a different kind of church model. The authors performed an intensive study (in two parts) comparing growing and vibrant churches with stagnant and struggling ones. They concluded (overwhelmingly) that the growing churches had adopted simple processes for discipleship and programming. Leaner is meaner. Less is more. And complexity is out.
Rainer and Geiger make a lot of comparisons to the world of marketing and business, where they find this concept also to be true. Google, Papa John's, Apple, and GE all have adopted simple processes and had the courage to say "no" to a lot of other good ideas for products and new business ventures. Whatever didn't fit their clearly-defined business focus, they rejected. And by having less, they were better at what they did undertake, and thus were more successful.
Simple Church argues that churches are not altogether different. Many churches craft and develop all kinds of vision and mission statements that rarely get used, and oftentimes every ministry and sub-ministry has its own statements. Very often programs have little unity, don't work together, and actually serve to compete against each other. Complexity in program-driven churches also serves to confuse church members (how do they grow, what things should they be involved in), and frustrates leaders (there's so much on the calendar that leaders burn out quickly and recruiting volunteers becomes a competitive nightmare).
Simple churches define a very narrow focus. They do less, but emphasize the things they specialize in, and get as many people involved as possible. All church ministries and initiatives are aligned around a clear and straightforward process, and every ministry has a clearly articulated place in the process. And here is the key, Simple Church leaders say "no" to programs and ideas (however creative and exciting) that fall outside of the church's discipleship process. These leaders understand that there are infinite options for church ministry, but any single church can only do a few things well.
Strengths -- The research process was very impressive and detailed throughout the early chapters and in an Appendix. The authors very clearly show that the book is not based on personal preferences, but on research they have gathered in their study.
The book's thesis really resonated with me. I know what it is to be exhausted from meetings, and I have contributed to this problem in years past by inventing programs to meet needs. I love the emphasis on designing a ministry process with a few components, and then figuring out how to streamline the things you feel called to do through these few, simple programs. Using a simple structure to accomplish lots of things seems both enticing and effective to me. I also appreciated the focus on creating space for people in their calendar to work out the things God is teaching them. For example, if you have been teaching about loving your neighbors, that's really hard to do if you are booked 3 nights per week in church activities.
Weaknesses -- Rainer and Geiger could have said everything that needed to be said in about 100 pages. A simple thesis lends itself to a simpler book. I also struggled with some of the application of Biblical texts to their arguments. There was some hermenuetic liberties taken. While not contrary to the meaning of the texts, it seemed there were a number of "stretches" to support their points.
And lastly, I'm always afraid of adopting principles solely based on practicality or "faddishness." At the end of the day, I don't think this is what the authors intend, but there is an awful lot of emphasis on pragmatics throughout the book. Because of this, Simple Church could easily could be adopted as the "hot new thing" in church organization, only to to be replaced by the next slick book promoting a different model.
The authors explain that the genius of a simple church is to clarify and combine its purpose and process of making disciples. For example, a church that is centered around loving God, loving people, and serving the world is one that leads its people along a process of making disciples that has programs built around: loving God (beginning with large group worship), loving people (participating in a small group for community) and serving the world (joining a ministry team). A simple church will have a clear and simple expectation for which events or meetings that members should attend each week.
In order to become a simple church the authors suggest examining four elements: clarity, movement, alignment, and focus. A church should clearly identify the stages of spiritual growth (clarity) and move people along the process of discipleship (movement), make sure each ministry contributes to this process (alignment) or is eliminated (focus).
I recommend reading "Simple Church" as a reminder to church leadership to resist the pull toward organizational complexity and align the church's ministry structure around the process of making disciples.
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.