Simple Church, Clarity – Part 1

In this series, we are looking at the Broadman & Holman book, Simple Churchwritten by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. In the book, the writers encourage churches to “return to God’s process for making disciples.” Their research indicated that the healthiest churches in America tend to have a simple process for making disciples.

In their book, they define a Simple Church as “a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth (discipleship).” Rainer and Geiger’s research indicated that the discipleship process in America’s healthiest churches include the four simple church concepts of clarity, movement, alignment, and focus.

Let’s begin by taking a close look at clarity. What is it? How can we attain it? Why is it so important in the church?

Clarity refers to the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people.


1.  DEFINE YOUR PROCESS. Here are some keys to defining your process:

  • Determine what kind of disciple you want to make. Ask God to lead you to make this determination and try to narrow the list as much as possible. Remember, if you aim at nothing, you’re probably going to hit it!
  • Describe your purpose as a process. For example, one church uses the three words celebrate, connect, and contribute.
  • Decide how each weekly program is part of your process. Don’t just conduct programs for the sake of conducting them. Programs should have purpose and they should fit the process and purpose the Lord leads your church to accomplish. Here’s a related quote from page 114 of the Simple Church book:

If there is not one clearly defined HOW, people construct multiple interpretations on the direction of the church.

2.  ILLUSTRATE YOUR PROCESS. Rainer and Geiger’s research indicated that the vibrant churches were more than twice as likely as the comparison churches to visually illustrate a process. On page 118, they wrote:

Vision is always visual. People are able to live out the vision if they can see it.

The Saddleback Baseball Diamond is an example of illustrating your process. Each base represents one of the steps in the process. Rick Warren designed the diamond to visually illustrate the process of discipleship in the church and to visually imply a sequence. A person begins at first base and ultimately, finishes at home plate.

We will continue discussing clarity in my next post. For more information on Simple Church, please see the other posts in this series:

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