The big surprise of 'Simple Church' | 11/17/2019 | Staff
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The big surprise of 'Simple Church'

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Years - Student - Eric - Geiger - Office

It has been 15 years since a young doctoral student named Eric Geiger came into my office to share with me his research on churches that had clearly defined processes of discipleship. I saw his genius in those early years and was eager to put my name on a book reflecting his insights.

The book ultimately became known as Simple Church. Eric and I watched in amazement as the book became one of the best-selling works in the genre of church leadership. Eric went on to serve as executive pastor of Christ Fellowship in Miami. I then brought him on our leadership team at LifeWay, where he rose quickly to become our senior vice president and chief business officer. Today, Eric serves as senior pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California.

Elements - Simple - Church - Buzz - First

There were several elements of the Simple Church that created such a buzz. First, the book advocated tying the church’s vision statement to a process of discipleship. Most church vision statements were words on a wall or a website that had little practical application in the lives of church members. This was the element in Simple Church called “clarity.”

The second part of Eric’s research revealed the intentionality of moving church members through the process of discipleship. This component, called “movement,” advocated metrics of accountability for the different parts of the process.

Alignment - Part - Process - Outgrowth - Members

“Alignment” was the third part of the process. It was a natural outgrowth of “movement.” If members were moving through a path of discipleship, the ministries of the church had to be aligned with the vision statement.

But it was the reception to the fourth and final part of the Simple Church process which really surprised me. It is called “focus,” and suggests the church eliminate activities that were not fully aligned...
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