Has Your Church Become Too Complex?

shutterstock_156525197[1]Simplicity is simply stated less is more. Albert Einstein said, “Out of complexity, find simplicity.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be simple is to be great.” So much of life has become so complex, crowded, and cluttered that people are hungry for simple. Pick up an iPod; click on Google’s home page; scan the pages of Real Simple.

Jesus, also, was into simple. The religious leaders of his day, in contrast, were into complexity. They had developed a religious system with 613 laws, one for each letter in the text containing the Ten Commandments. In answer to the question, of all the 613 commandments, which is the greatest, Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt. 22:37-40 NIV). Jesus was not lowering the standard of the Law nor was he abolishing it. He simply captured the essence of it all in one statement. He summed up 613 commands in two. On another occasion, Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers. He was bothered by meaningless and distracting clutter. Jesus adamantly opposed anything that got in the way of people encountering him.

The reality is that many of our churches have become so complex and so cluttered that people have a difficult time of encountering the simple and powerful message of Jesus. Many people are busy doing church instead of being the church. Sometimes, I feel, that the clutter and complexity can often make things look okay, even good, when in reality the busyness is a great disguise for lack of life. Great amounts of activity do not produce life change. I believe that simple is best and less is more. The church needs an environment where life change is likely to occur with a simple process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. Imagine a church that is no longer busy but is alive with ministries and activities that move people to make a difference. Incidentally, a study on church growth was conducted that hypothesized that churches that offered more programs would grow more than churches that offered fewer programs. The research proved the opposite. Less programs means more focus, more excellence, more energy, more attention, and, ultimately, more impact on changing lives.

What are your thoughts? How has your church moved to a more simple structure?


About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply