The Simple Church idea revolutionized how churches view their disciple-making process. First, the what becomes the how – a clear process flows from what disciples look like. Key programs are then placed along the process. Next, ministries are united around this process. Last, anything outside the process is eliminated.
Being a new pastor at an established church, I have begun learning all our ministries. Many of them are excellent. But my responsibility is now using these ministries to create a cohesive path for all disciples to grow. Obviously, I’m just starting to clarify the steps to make the what the how. In thinking through my vision for a discipleship process at First Baptist Murray, I’ve realized two areas that are often neglected within the simple church framework: budgeting and staffing.
Budgeting. Church leaders will get their congregation fired up about a new vision. The church will adopt a new process for making disciples. Everything becomes simple, and the majority of the church can now quote a memorable discipleship process statement. But a major problem is just below the surface: The budget line items do not match the new discipleship process. The resources remain locked up in the old paradigm. A new, clear discipleship process also requires a major overhaul of the church budget. The simple church will never work unless the resource allocation matches the process.
Staffing. Church leaders will work for months gaining the momentum to simplify a church structure. The people will adopt a new vision statement. Ministries will begin to align. Everyone is clear on how to make a disciple. But this change will not be long-term unless the staff is aligned as well. When you radically change the discipleship process, you must also radically restructure the church staff to match the process. The simple church will never work unless ministerial responsibility and oversight matches the process.
Any thoughts from those that have successfully implemented a simple church structure? Did you also align the budget and staff?