Stop Complicating Ministry: Why Keeping It Simple Is Always Better

Ministry will never be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.

So, you pastor a small, struggling church.

You’re trying to help it become less small and less struggling, but all the “can’t miss” answers from the latest books, podcasts, and conferences aren’t working for you.

That’s okay, you don’t need any of that to have a vibrant, healthy, effective church ministry.

We make church way more complicated than it needs to be. Some of that comes from (mis)reading what pastors of big churches are saying and doing. We see their professional-grade musicians, lighting, graphics, and staffing, and we think we need to do that, too.

But we don’t.

Big churches didn’t become big by having cool new stuff. They added that stuff when it became the best way to manage the size of the crowd. Parking attendants with matching shirts didn’t cause their growth, it was a byproduct of their growth.

The Simple Church Solution

Complicating ministry is never the answer.

Simplifying ministry is always better, especially if the church is small (whatever number you consider small to be).

Small churches need to stop copying big churches, and start asking “what’s the simplest way to do great ministry, strong worship, engaging fellowship, deep discipleship, and effective outreach at the size we are right now?”

Then do that. Experiment with a few ideas, but keep them streamlined and simple.

Small, Simple Examples

For example, every church strategist tells us a healthy church needs vibrant small groups. And they’re right.

But if you’re pastoring a church of under 50, you already are a small group. Don’t subdivide them further. Get everyone together for fellowship, conversation, prayer, and ministry.

Want great kid’s ministry? Sitting on the grass, coloring on cardboard while someone who loves kids tells them about Jesus is life-transforming.

Youth? Listen to them, be an example to them, show up at their graduation, their games, their concerts. Be a soft place to land when they’re teased at school, they fail a class, or their parents get a divorce.

Families? Offer to watch their kids so mom and dad can have a much-needed night to themselves.

Seniors? Show them the respect they’ve earned, and take the time to learn what they can teach us.

On Sundays, teach the Bible using simple terms we can all understand.

  • Speak kindly and lovingly to hurting people.
  • Pray for those in need.
  • Encourage church members to invite friends.
  • Sing songs that work in your context.

In short, do the basics in a way that fits where God has put you.

Ministry will never be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.

(Photo by GT#2…Off permanently | Flickr)


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