A Tool I Wish I Had as Simple Church Was Released 

Nearly 18 years ago, Thom Rainer and I wrote Simple Church, a research-based book that showed how thriving churches were much more likely to be deeply committed to a strategic process for discipling people than non-thriving churches. It was the non-thriving churches that offered lots of programs and were bloated by an abundance of activity. […]

9 Ways Strategic Ministry Leaders Think Differently (Part One)

Since writing Simple Church with my mentor and former boss Thom Rainer, I have enjoyed countless conversations with ministry leaders about strategy and strategic thinking. While some ministry leaders view spiritual leadership in opposition to strategic leadership, I am thankful that many don’t embrace the false dichotomy. Ministry leaders can be both spiritual and strategic. […]

3 Huge Downsides to a Busy Church

Adrian Rogers was perhaps the first preacher to coin the phrase, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he will make you busy,” but many others have echoed the pithy statement. And for good reason. Pastors have seen the numbing effect of busyness on the people they serve. Busyness can harden our hearts as we work […]

3 Reasons Church Complexity Hurts Engagement

Too many programs. Too many events. Too many announcements. Too many things on the calendar. For those who bemoan complexity, these are common statements. If you serve on a church staff you have surely heard or offered these statements. You have likely wrestled with the tension of wanting to meet a need in a way […]

3 Common Ways Churches Overcomplicate Their Calendars

A busy church calendar can keep people at church and away from the broader culture. Not only is mission thwarted but people also have a difficult time navigating what their next step at the church is. When there is a plethora of programs/events on the calendar, it is hard to know which ones are really […]

5 Steps to Simplifying Your Church’s Schedule

Church over-programming

For many good reasons, church leaders often desire to simplify their schedules. They know too many programs is paralyzing for new people, as the next step is unclear. They know that it is impossible for their church to do everything well. They see leaders exhausted and they know activity does not equate with transformation. They […]

2 Pitfalls of Too Many Programs in Your Church

My mother recently reminded me that when I landed my first full-time job, I declared I was excited to have more money for two things: (1) athletic shoes and (2) more frequent haircuts. I like shoes, and I was pretty excited this summer to customize two pairs of converse Chuck Taylors—one for me and one […]

Burying a Program

Since writing Simple Church with my boss, Thom Rainer, a common question has been “How can we eliminate a program or an event?” Those who ask the question often know that a program on their church calendar accomplishes very little for the kingdom and is not aligned with the mission of their church. But they wrestle […]

Simple Church Epilogue Part 2

It has been nearly eight years since Simple Church was first released. Now after eight years of discussions and observations with church leaders, I am offering a series of blog posts on the five most significant lessons learned since then. The last post was about the proclivity for churches to drift. The second lesson is […]

Four Ways to Continue the Simple Church Conversation

You should frequently discuss your simple process. Discussion will lead to understanding and ownership with the leaders. Consequently, the process will be planted deep into the culture of the church. Perhaps it is time for you to begin the ongoing conversation . . . to get things started. Pace yourself. This process will take some […]