April 18, 2009 PhilBell

Keep it Simple

My lack of blogging in the last couple of weeks is due to our church moving into our first ever fulltime facility. Up until now we have met in schools, houses, and rented facilities. As a 6 year old church plant we have seen some pretty significant things happen and it has been incredible to see how ministry can explode without a facility. This last Sunday (Easter) was our very first service in our new facility and we grew by 22% from the previous weekend. It’s been a crazy but amazing couple of weeks! 

This Sunday is our first time we get to run our weekly youth ministry program there to0. There are a number of changes we are having to make due to the differences of location and also because we have many more options to enhance what we do… However, it’s my experience that when we I have had significant changes in a program, it is important to understand that simplicity is better when kicking off something new.

There is always a temptation to ‘shoot for the moon’ to create an incredible first impression, but I have found in the past that it is better to simplify in these situations… Here’s why: 

1) My Leaders can Care Better: I always tell my leaders that students might think they are coming for a ‘wow’ evening, but it is caring and community that will keep them coming back the next week. When our leaders are all caught up in creating a incredible wow factor, it is easy to lose sight of relationships. Even if our students cannot verbalize this loss, they will certainly feel it. When I can allow my leaders to do their ministry as ‘normal’ as possible and keep their focus on caring, we will see students return week after week. 

2) Start Good and Move Towards Great: This idea might seem backwards or contrary to how many of us think, but I have found this to be true. A friend of mine called Jason, went to school to be a professional guitarist in a band, (I never knew you could go to school for that before), he taught me a principle that he learned that has always stuck with me. When doing a gig with a band this is what your set should look like:  Begin with one of your better songs, (not your best), do a slightly better song next, and then your third song should be your best. Start good and move towards great… Keeping our envinronment simple and including a few ‘wow’ components allows us to start realistically.  As we ‘find our feet’ in the next few weeks, we can add better and more complex components to what we do. Not only is this easier to do, it is actually better to do…

3) Simple Leads to a Greater Impact: When we all know how the environment runs because of simplicity it is easier for us all to see the ‘win’ that we are trying to head for. I am big proponent programing simply so that we even our students get why we do what we do. When we have a complex environment, it is often hard to identify the goal and purpose. When we keep it simple, it is easier to keep our leaders and students pulling in the same direction, thus having greater impact. 

How are you keeping it simple and relational? 

Phil <><

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About the Author

PhilBell Phil Bell is a Family Ministry pastor with over 15 years of experience ministering to families. He holds a Masters in Christian Ministry and is a national speaker, columnist, author, and blogger. He’s passionate about investing in families and equipping parents to reach the next generation for Christ. He’s originally from England and now lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Lisa and their three beautiful kids.

Comment (1)

  1. bj

    Phil, Thanks bro. I needed to read that. It is so easy to complicate things when trying to organize programs. I think keeping it simple is something that God is teaching me right now. I’ve been putting up a pretty good fight to this lesson but losing of course. It’s freeing to be simple but also seems a bit scary to feel out of control and let God do His thing. Do you think we try to complicate things in order to have that control?

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