“Just Look At The Math”

This is a post written by my buddy Aaron Saufley. You can frequent his blog by CLICKING HERE. He and I share a lot in common, so when I read this post I couldn’t help but ask him if I could “steal it” to post here on “a holy discontent”. I’m a sucker for a good analogy about the church…

From “The Road Less Traveled” on September 9th, 2010:

I’m always looking for ways to help other churched people understand why I’m a simple/organic/house church guy, because I get asked about it quite often.  I often have used construction terms–the structure of the traditional church needs a lot of metaphorical scaffolding (programs, finances, staff, etc.) to hold it up, where as a simple church doesn’t need any of those things.

I may have found a new one.  And it involves my least favorite subject ever.

Math.

I always hated geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus (which, thank God, I avoided taking).  I just don’t get the idea of adding letters.  And I want to get to a final solution, not a final balanced equation.

So here’s the idea when it comes to church and why I’m not a traditionally structured church guy anymore:

2 + 2 = 4

13x – 21y(7z – 43) = 4

These two equations are essentially the same, because they both equal four.  The difference, however, is obvious.  One is much simpler than the other.

When it comes to the church, I truly believe most Christians want the same solution–more people following Jesus.  The problem, however, is that we build an equation that is way too complicated.  We’re convinced that with enough finances, staff, and programs, we can figure out that solution.  The only wrench in the gears are the variables (for those of us who’ve forgotten how to do math without a calculator, the variables in the above equation are x, y, and z).  If we can just figure out the variables, then we’ll have the magic formula–a new program, a great idea from the latest how-to-grow-a-large-trendy-rocker-church book, another staff member, a new location, a viral marketing campaign, etc.

When the equation is too complicated, we focus on the variables and forget about the real solution:  Jesus.

The church isn’t a bunch of programs, resources, staff, events, and cool marketing.  Plain and simple, the church is about Jesus.  The church is the people of God doing life together on mission with Jesus.  The church is the people of God letting Jesus live His life through them, whatever their circumstance.  The church is about helping people to become better followers of Jesus.

That’s it.  Pure and simple.  And that’s what organic/simple church is all about.

I’m convinced a great majority of churches need to take a hard look at themselves and simplify.  Big time.  There are many programs that are dead that need to be cut loose.  There are many programs and events that are causing too much sideways movement (they’re meant to do the same thing).  The church needs to drop a lot of weight and get back into “fighting shape.”  In order to do that, ego and agenda must be put to death, and this question must be asked and acted upon:  What is the simplest (notice I didn’t say easiest) way to help people become followers of Jesus?

The time is long past for churches to stop adding, adding, adding.  It’s past time for some major subtraction to begin so that the multiplication of disciples can commence.

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