Here at Solid Rock, we have embraced a philosophy of ministry that we refer to as The Simple Church, though we understand that the term “Simple Church” may be defined differently by different people. Whether a simple church is large or small, being uncomplicated is always the goal. The Apostle Paul emphasized simplicity when he wrote to the Corinthians saying:
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV)
The book of Acts also records the simple nature of the early church:
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart (Acts 2:46 NKJV)
Solid Rock Church has never been a mega church and being such is not our goal. Though we want to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of the kingdom of God, and we certainly seek to be more effective in doing so, we do not feel that gathering large numbers of people under one roof is the only way to be effective. For those who can successfully manage all the logistics of a large church and maintain simplicity of heart and a family atmosphere, we salute them. But the mega church model is usually very expensive in terms of time, energy, and financial resources which tends to cause the church to be run more as a business than a family.
Modern churches, even those which are not large enough to be considered a “mega” church, have in many cases become very complicated with multiple ministries, requiring professional administrative staff, elaborate facilities, and a huge budget. Such churches often present a smorgasbord of programs may include a men’s ministry, a women’s ministry, a children’s ministry, a single’s ministry, a marriage ministry, a youth ministry, a college ministry, a small group ministry, ministry to the poor, counseling ministry, evangelism ministry, helps ministry, healing ministry, music ministry, teaching ministry, ministry of education, a drama team, etc.
None of these things are bad in themselves. And we are not saying that some of these things will never happen here. But if they do, they will likely be birthed and managed from the heart of individuals who carry a specific burden for a specific ministry with a desire to meet that need. They are not likely to be run as ongoing ministry programs managed out of the church office.
Let’s say John is an outdoorsman who enjoys camping, fishing and hunting. So instead of expecting the church staff to get involved and start a recreational ministry with a budget, regular meetings, etc., he simply has an announcement put in the bulletin about his intent to organize a canoe trip and asks who is interested. He and others plan it. If it develops into more outdoor activities, that is up to those who participate. Simple.
Let’s say Sally notices that her friends marriage needs help. Does the church have to start a couple’s ministry with weekly meetings? Probably not. Maybe she should talk to her friend first. Maybe she should make the need known to the pastor or a mature couple who is qualified to help. Maybe Sally could invite a few couples over weekly for a season to watch a DVD series on strengthening marriage. There are many options depending upon the situation, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be an ongoing ministry.
What we are describing is a paradigm where ministry happens through people, not through a top-down centralized organization. Ministry happens based on need and resources and does not develop into a routine void of life or an overgrown organization that spends more time “oiling the machinery” than doing ministry. When too many things are centrally managed, many people tend to become spectators instead of participants and things can get complicated, expensive, and inefficient.
Jesus defined having strong foundations as putting His teachings into action – or “doing” :
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV)
If something is simple, more people will do it – and as the passage above points out, “doing” is the key, not just hearing. Most of us are not called to be “professional Christians.” And for those who do make a profession out of it (those called to full time ministry), their job is to equip others to do the work of ministry. Let’s face it, if non-professional Christians are going to do ministry, it needs to be simple because most simply don’t have the time to get complicated.
Studies have shown that foundational biblical truth is seriously lacking, not just in the culture at large, but also in the church (see lesson: Defining Disciples). As a result, Christians have seen the culture become increasingly hostile to God. But with a solid foundation, what we build on it will not be toppled by the storms of life. Our simple promise is this: We will not neglect to teach the foundational truths of the Bible.
Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. (Isaiah 58:12 NKJV)