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Friday, April 18, 2014
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Home > Helpful Articles > Leadership Articles > Keep It Simple Stupid

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Keep It Simple Stupid
Brian Orme

7practicesBrian Orme reminds all of us just to keep it simple...

It's amazing how many books you can read about church, leadership, and business that proclaim simplicity as one of the foundational strategies for growth and success.  Andy Stanley's book, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry is a brief-but-pure reminder about simple-church effectiveness.  I'm also reading the provocative business book, Good to Great (I'll post about this book later).  Both books have a great deal to say about taking organizations from multi-focused and mediocre to passionate, simple and extraordinary.   

Simplicity is an overarching theme in numerous self-help, marketing and how-to books.  The Christian bookstores are full of books that claim to teach us how to stay focused.  Is this bad?  Well, maybe, but

the over-saturation of the “keep-it-simple” books is for a reason … we buy them.  Well, maybe not always me and you—but somebody—or, rather, lots of somebodies.  The reason why this brand of book sells so extravagantly: because we all get caught up in complex systems and forget about the end goal.  We always need to be reminded.  It's funny how you can read something from so many angles but it reads true every time; almost like it's a new thing, but it's totally not. Simplicity is one of those things.

I’ve been reading more books on business and marketing lately and I've found this theme of simplicity to be in just about every one in some shape or form.  I don't think we can run the church like a business, that's not the point, but I sincerely believe that there are timeless principles that are often rediscovered in business strategy books; these rediscoveries can teach us.   

So much of what goes on in churches or businesses is good but not brilliant, functional but not extraordinary.  Good because there are so many things available, there's a plethora of opportunities, but this same reason renders organizations lackluster.  The shotgun approach just doesn’t work for the long haul.  Trying to do too many things will always short-change the potential growth in vital areas.  Ministry shape should always be molded by simplicity not complexity. 

Knowing what to do, when to do it, and being disciplined not to add to it—that's simplicity.  No matter where you stand on the mega-church thing or the church-growth stuff, I think Andy Stanley's book is a good reminder—which we often need—that keeping it simple will put us in the best possible shape to be effective—no matter what size the ministry or business: less paves the way for more.  I'm learning this lesson, myself. 

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