Question:We've been talking a lot as a church about "simplifying" -- the most difficult question we wrestle with is when someone says, "we need X ministry - to single moms or new moms or alcoholics or divorce recovery etc etc" We feel like we're in a no-win situation because if we say, "no" we sound like we don't care about single moms or we don't love the poor or what have you. And if we say, we don't have the resources, the person pushes back with, "well, I can serve there and I can recruit people to help me etc etc"?? Any ways you could help us communicate with people - I'd love a phrase or two to use in addition to any thoughts you have on the subject??? Thanks! Jason
Great question Jason! A few years ago, we made the decision to simplify our entire approach to ministry at The Orchard. It was a tough decision, but one that we haven’t looked back on since!
Simplifying involves two things: 1) Making the decision to simplify and 2) Being committed to STAYING simple. Both involve the need to be very, very clear about what God has called your church to be and do.
Here are a few thoughts about simplicity....
We are unapologetically focused on doing a few things we know we can be great at.
I typically tell people that there are about five or six things that we
are committed to doing very, very well and anything above that should
probably be considered a “bonus.” We try to be very clear about this
with people from day one because we know that there are people who are
looking for a church that can do a great job at meeting every need for
every segment of every member of their family. And the bottom line
is......we’re just not going to do a very good job at that. Which
means, that The Orchard is not going to be the right church for
everyone. And that’s ok!
I have never seen an unchurched woman get upset that we don’t have a women’s ministry.
Being simple is costly.....but in a good way.
We know that being “simple” has cost us. But that’s ok. Because in my
opinion, the greater cost is ending up with a church full of consumers
who think that church is all about them and meeting all of their
Being simple provides a greater degree of equity - all the
way around. (Volunteer equity, giving equity, asking equity, etc....)
Less truly is more! When people aren’t being asked to give to “special
projects” twelve times a year or be at the church three or four times a
week, it builds equity! And as a result, people end up being morecommitted to a few things instead of getting burned out and giving
their half-arsed leftovers to a million things.
Being simple is a lot easier when you talk openly about it and help people understand why it’s important!
The bottom line is that simplicity MAKES SENSE! And when you take the
time to explain and cast vision for WHY it’s important, people will
respect that! I constantly hear from people how much they appreciate
and respect our commitment to simplicity! In fact, there are people
who use our “simplicity” as a “selling point” in inviting their
unchurched friends to The Orchard. It’s amazing!
It’s awfully hard to empower people to live missionally when they are expected to be in church four or five times a week.
So.......instead of starting or joining a church softball league or some other church program, why not pop the bubble and get out in the community and be a part of one that already exists?
Listen....a lot of ministry ideas that people have are actually awesome ideas that could turn into incredible opportunities to reach out and love our community!
I recently had a woman in our church share her desire to start a reading program for disadvantaged children in our local community. She didn’t share this with me hoping that the church would assume responsibility by starting it, funding it, promoting it, staffing it. Instead, she shared the idea because she simply needed someone to empower and encourage her to go for it! I love that! And ultimately, that’s one of the ways that our churches can truly become irreplaceable in our communities.
Do you have a question about transition/change/leadership/ministry? Shoot 'em to me at scott (AT) orchardvalleyonline (DOT) com.
My buddy, Vince Antonucci, recently announced that he's going to be planting a church on the Vegas strip. I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you........it could use as many GOOD churches as it can get! And if you know Vince, you'll know that he's a guy who can pull it off!
Wow, what a weekend at The Orchard as we kicked off a new series called "Inked! Man, the momentum was awesome! TONS of new faces....all three services packed out....a sweet Harley Davidson on the stage.....and a bunch of amazing teams that worked super hard to pull it all off!
"Inked" is a series about going "beneath the surface" in our relationships. We began this weekend by talking about "communication" - and specifically how to be effective listeners. Our prayer was, "God, help us to seek first to understand....then to be understood." Now, that's a good prayer!
And the fact that God understands us empowers us to be intentional about listening with the intent to understand others. Practical, hopeful and extremely convicting!
Don't forget - if you have a tattoo, we'd love to hear your story behind it. Just go to www.MyTatStory.com to tell your story and submit your tattoo photo!
Almost weekly, I receive a handful of emails and phone calls from pastors and church leaders from all over the map who have heard about The Orchard and who have specific questions about change and transition in their own organizations.
So.....starting next week, I am going to do my best to devote one day a week to answering some of those questions here on my blog.
All you need to do is email your questions to: scott (at) orchardvalleyonline (dot) com. We'll collect them and then I'll do my best to answer what I can and at least get some good discussion going on the ones I can't! :)
It's a bit dusty around here at scotthodge.org. But I'm back and ready to get this place moving again!
BTW......had a great time in Las Vegas with Amanda. I was there to officiate a wedding ceremony, so we took advantage of the time away and extended it out to celebrate her birthday.....VEGAS style! :) Whatever that means....
Anyway.....my I'm going to vomit some A.D.D. all over this post with a bunch of thoughts/links/etc.... Here it goes:
Thanks to DJ Chuang, just found out that past talks from "Q" are available for online for free. DJ has posted the details and link here. This is probably my favorite conference of the year because it's all about influencing culture. Go watch 'em.
Barton Damer at Already Been Chewed recently shared a video link featuring Shepard Fairey - the "OBEY" guy. I LOVE his work and have a few shirts featuring his designs. Interesting to see & hear how he works.
Have you seen the lineup of speakers for Exponential? Holy smokes! Francis Chan, Matt Chandler, Craig Groeschel, Alan Hirsch, Tim Keller, Erwin McManus. Check out the entire list here. Exponential is one of the largest gatherings of church planters in the US. I'll be there! Hope you will be too!
Last but not least.... Do you have a tattoo? Check out MyTatStory.com - a new site that we've launched in conjunction with our new fall series called "INKED." We're asking people to snap photos of their tats and share the stories behind them.