Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Imperfect Church, part 2

In Steve Sjogren's The Perfectly Imperfect Church, he identifies 13 paths a church travels to become perfectly imperfect. The first of these he calls, "Simple." He thinks that the way we tend to do church is too complicated for most people. He includes many practicalities from his experience leading worship (and you find these in many church leadership books): Keep the service to 60 minutes (not so common advice form someone in his tradition), do smooth & short transitions, keep the message 25-30 minutes. Simple is not only about worship services, but is about the total practice of doing Church. He makes two important points here. First, as we pursue simplicity, we will find ourselves "saying no to many good things." One of the ways I present that in my ministry is asking the question, "Is that a good idea or a God idea?" Second, the work of simplification is difficult and painful. Churches develop traditions (the actions we defend with 'We've always done it that way!) very quickly. Most people only have to attend once to choose a seat that is "theirs." Our church is about 150 years old. Since simplification means change, it will definitely cause much pain - even more than I think Sjogren realizes. As I'll comment on a future chapter, he doesn't seem to have much experience with old established churches & seems to assume leaders have more power to bring change, or can do so more quickly than I've seen in my experience. But then maybe I'm just too timid.


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