What is a Simple Church?
A spiritual extended family, led by ordinary people, living in everyday gospel community, owning the mission of Jesus in a neighborhood or network. These “families” become a communal witness to their neighborhood or network, they make the Kingdom tangible, and disciple one another. This is what the Bible calls a “household of faith.” Most of the church plants around the world are faith communities of about 10-50 people. That spiritual extended family makes disciples and reproduces other small faith communities. That is the form of church that is predominant in the New Testament as well. Most of what people think of church - buildings, programs, and professional clergy - are extra-biblical.
What does a typical simple church gathering look like?
Each simple church’s weekly gathering will look a little different depending on what mission they are rallying around. This is a beautiful thing that we celebrate and welcome God to lead each simple church towards the mission He has for them. There are 3 characteristics that will exist in every simple church regardless of context or their identified mission.
Living on Mission
We will live on mission where we live, work, learn, and play. We live to BLESS (acronym explained below) our neighborhood and others. God’s strategy for reaching and restoring the world is simply this: to have His people bless the world. This means that blessing others and helping people come to know, love and serve Jesus are linked together.
We will set aside time each time we gather to focus our attention on God and his goodness. Many christians are familiar with worshiping through song. Not only will we sing, but each simple church will have the freedom to explore different expressions of worship.
Having regular community with each other is what will make us actually feel like a family. When we laugh with one another, eat with one another and spend time with one another, our relationships will deepen. We are striving to build rhythms of margin in our lives to help us prioritize time for authentic community.
What does the acronym B.L.E.S.S. stand for?
We have studied the life of Jesus and the early church to discover the ways they blessed others. Blessing others isn’t about a program; it’s about living out five simple missionary rhythms that Jesus and the early church embodied for us. Blessing isn’t about adding something; it’s about infusing everyday activities we’re already doing with new gospel intentionality. These rhythms are simple enough for a five-year-old to understand, but robust enough to create missionaries in every neighborhood in Kansas City. The goal is for these rhythms to becoming like breathing, naturally and easily. What are these rhythms?
B - Begin in Prayer
L - Listen and Engage
E - Eat
S - Serve
S - Story
For each rhythm, we learn how to breathe in and breathe out. What are the BLESS rhythms? Click below to find out!
What is the difference between a small group and a simple church?
While simple churches are made up of small groups of people, they are not what most think of today as "small groups" in a church setting. You see, most people who have hung around a church in the past 15 years know the typical small group as this: Christians getting together to study the Bible and fellowship because largely they can't get that at the Sunday gathering. When defined in this way, small group is seen as a supplement. These groups are typically made up of people who travel from different parts of the city to gather and grow and then go back to their respective parts of the city. Small groups primarily function as a way of assimilating people into the organized church.
Simple churches are the equipping of the saints for the good works of mission every day, all week long in a particular neighborhood or network. They live on mission together all the time. Then these simple churches come together in hubs (what we call The Gathering) to celebrate what God is doing, worship together, and get equipped to go back out and be the church in their neighborhood or network. Small groups typically connect around content once a week and return to their mostly separate social networks. Simple churches become a spiritual extended family building a rhythm of life together around a mission to a particular neighborhood or network.