by Andy Bratton, Senior Minister
I have the privilege on sitting on the board for an organization called NCCE (New Churches of Christ Evangelism). The purpose of the group is to plant churches in Michigan. Over the past few years there have been new churches planted in Fruitport (south of Muskegon), Saginaw (on the campus of SVSU), and Ubley (a very tiny town in the thumb). If you are ever in those areas for a Sunday, check them out. Anyway, as I have been on this board we have initiated a relationship with an organization called New Thing. New Thing is all about planting reproducible networks of churches throughout the United States and the world. This organization is led by a guy named Dave Ferguson, who with his brother Jon, launched a successful church in Naperville, IL (suburb of Chicago), and continue to plant new churches around Chicago and the United States.
As part of this relationship, I have the blessing of being on a conference call with this group each month and hearing these guys talk about how they have been able to plant these churches as well as set up their own church. One of their key components is referred to as “Simple Systems.” If you went to visit their church in Naperville, you would see in big letters as you walk in, that their mission is to, “help people find their way back to God.” One well known preacher went to visit their church and had lunch with the Ferguson’s afterward and told them that he heard the phrase “helping people find their way back to God” no less than 13 times when he visited. Because they found that simple works, they simplify everything they do so that people remember what it is that they are about.
Our simple system at KCC as it stands is that we want to be “Christ Inspired.” And we have broken it down into the 4 S’s. We read in the Gospels that Jesus knew the Scriptures. For him, that was what we call the Old Testament. Now we have the luxury of both testaments but want to follow Jesus’ example and SEEK SCRIPTURE. We also find in the Gospels that Jesus called to himself 12 disciples and an even closer group of 3 (Peter, James, and John). With that group he was in a discipleship relationship. He was teaching them and training them and holding them accountable. Following that example we want to SHARPEN AND BE SHARPENED. Third, what we see is that Jesus, when entering towns and villages, would be approached by people that were hurting. And what did Jesus do? He SHOWED COMPASSION. And Jesus told his disciples that he came to serve not to be served. He washed his disciples’ feet in an act of humility and ultimately he went to the cross on our behalf. Following that example we want to SERVE SACRIFICIALLY. That is our simple system for who we are trying to be and encourage others to be as well.
What do you do with a simple system? Now we measure ourselves as a church and individually. How does our church do at Seeking Scripture? How are we creating environments for people to Sharpen and be Sharpened? How are we connecting to those in need to Show Compassion? And how are we highlighting the areas of opportunity by way of PART’s in order to let people Serve Sacrificially? And finally, on a personal level, each person in our body can measure his/her spiritual health by asking, “Am I in the Word, Am I in a discipleship relationship, Am I showing compassion, and Am I serving sacrificially? I think it is pretty simple but I am around it all the time. What do you think? Is it simple enough?