I just finished reading the book The Simple Church and near the end of the book the authors challenge the reader to think through how ministry is being done at their church. Many pastors think through the what. What are we doing to meet this need? What are we doing to reach this group? When that interrogative leads our ministry, we can become extremely program-driven. A church that leads with the “What?” usually lacks continuity and clear vision.
The opposing option is leading with “How?” Rather than asking what are we going to do to reach or meet, ask How are people being discipled? How are people progressing through a program to achieve spiritual growth?
The one thing I loved about this book is it’s constant pushing of simplicity over complexity. Less is more. In asking the “What?” you are looking to add more and become more complex. But in asking “How?” you direction is more process-driven. People are not discipled through programs, but through processes. That is because with a program there is no goal to achieve. Being at the program is the end goal. But with a process there is constant movement. Individuals striving for that next step. That is discipleship. As you look at the plethora of programs your church has accumulated, ask yourself this question: How are people being discipled? Or even more revealing: Are people even being discipled?