Church doesn’t have to be complicated. Mostly when people think of church, they think of the more complicated versions. Weekly Sunday services – with musicians and singers, a minister who prepares and preaches a sermon, pews and notices and morning tea and children’s programs – then of course youth groups, women’s groups, charity programs, small group networks…. and when you’ve done it one week you start organising the next one. Imagine starting a church like this! I know some people who have and it’s a huge process that requires a lot of time, vision, planning and clever, capable people, not to mention a pastor with serious credentials (ministry qualifications, years of experience etc). Most of us would never imagine that we could do something like this. Even many pastors, like myself.
But church doesn’t have to be that complicated. Church is not the programs and preaching and preparation of all this stuff. Church is people. If you boil it down to its simplest ingredients, church is a group of people who are following Jesus together, looking after each other and making a difference in the world. This might involve weekly sermons, services and staff, or it could just be a handful of people who catch up in a park every couple of weeks to chat, eat food and encourage each other. That’s what our church looks like. Maybe you could start one like this too.
How good would it be if there was one of these simple churches on every street? People who are living out Jesus’ way of life, bringing heaven into their local communities, and sharing countless stories of what God is doing in all those different places. If you’ve wondered about something like this before, don’t let that idea go! If you don’t fit in with the more complicated versions of church, or if you are frustrated with it for some reason, then do something about it! Keep praying, check out the other resources on this website, and start some conversations with your friends about it. And if you want to chat more about it all, let me know and we can have a coffee together.
Right throughout the history of the church, it has been simple groups of Jesus followers who have changed the world. From Jesus’ own handful of disciples to the house churches in Acts to the early fathers, small groups of nuns, and wild Celtic monks who invented beers and transformed whole nations. God has always used simple, unsensational, behind-the-scenes, slowly-growing groups for his powerful, life-changing work. Like yeast in dough, or a tiny seed in the ground. Maybe you could be one of those seeds. And even if that’s still not you, please pray for more people who will do it!