You've probably been at a meeting at church that goes like this: "We need to start a food pantry for the people who come in asking for food." A solid, wonderful member says. "What do you think?" They open it up to the whole group. Nobody says anything, because how could you be against a food pantry? Why? Because, it is a good thing and how can we as a church be against a good thing. The person can quote Jesus' command to love our neighbor and also when Jesus says, "When I was hungry, you fed me." And then all of the sudden, your ministry has a food pantry that doesn't fit the community need, doesn't fit the church strengths, and no plan on how to make it connect to the church's ministry.
This is very typical in our Lutheran context. Churches start programs that are "good" things to do, but how does it fit within our Word and Sacrament ministry? How does this bring Christ to the community? Does it line up with the gifts that God has given to this church?
In Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger's book, Simple Church, they do a run through of ways to make ministry simple again. Although the theology is very reformed, the basic argument rings true. How do we have everyone in the church focused in one direction and able to move in a common direction in the ministry of Christ.
I know that I need to be better at focusing my attention solely on what God has called me to do here, "Proclaiming Christ, forgiving the penitent, and serving the people." It is simple, but yet, we usually try to make it much more difficult. I will be covering this subject of how to make the church more simple over the next week.