(Eric is coauthor of Simple Church with Thom Rainer and executive pastor of Christ Fellowship, Miami, FL)
Starbucks owner closed all the stores one evening in Feb 2009, at prime time, to retrain employees on the main thing … the art of making coffee. Made a huge statement about keeping the main thing center and simple. Don't clutter what you do. He had seen that they had drifted by bringing in other products and lost the passion of doing what they are to be about which is making coffee.
The church has drifted and what we've added has made us drift. A drift never corrects itself.
(1) drifting toward complexity
· Have we started to just manage programs or are we doing what we are called to do in ministry?
· Illustration – The Washington Post hired a world renowned violin player to play for hours at a local Metro station to see what happened when you take something important and place it in a cluttered situation. One person stopped to listen, because she knew him from a concert. Thousands of others walked by almost not noticing.
· Jesus is constantly building His kingdom but instead of being mesmerized by Him, we often drift.
· The Pharisees added complexity to God's commands (lots of illustrations in the law).
· Matthew 22:24-40
· We often attempt to cope with complexity rather than deal with it. We cope by:
· multitasking – which lowers our effectiveness by trying to juggle too many things. In fact research says that multitasking lowers our IQ by as much as 10 points (smoking pot only lowers IQ by 4 points, by the way).
· out sourcing – leaving the mission of God or letting others take our mission and run with it. We leave it to others to engage the culture.
(2) drifting off mission
· Matthew 13:31-32 "birds perching in our branches" means that those on the outside will benefit because of our existence.
ADDRESS THE DRIFT
(1) clarify the discipleship process (key word is process)
· This ought to be our ministry blueprint that guides us.
· View discipleship as a whole process, not a piece of it.
· We've made discipleship information when it is transformation.
· Be careful not to over program early in the discipleship process which makes you compete with yourself to keep your people from the mission
· Ensure mission is deeply embedded in the discipleship process.
(2) live your process
· When the important people's behavior is in contrast to the mission it negates the process.
(3) align people around the process (your leaders)
(4) remove the clutter
** often the tool for worship have has become the object of our worship. See 2 Kings 18:1-5. God gave Moses the serpent for the people to look on to be healed, but Hezekiah broke the serpent into pieces knowing what he was doing since the people began to worship the thing rather than God.