For me, Simple Church was life changing and church changing. In fact, my pastor, Bruce Grubbs (at Gladeville Baptist Church where I serve as a bi-vocational Pastor for Spiritual Growth) asked me to design a staff retreat around the principles contained in Simple Church so we could begin moving in that direction. I did and we did. You may view the staff retreat plan here.
Essential Church asks the question, "Why do so many young adults (18 to 22) leave the church, and what will it take to bring them back?" This issue has been the subject of much study as pastors and church leaders grieve over the loss of so many of their youth and young adults.
Essential Church is based on a study of one-thousand so-called "church dropouts" who were interviewed about why they left. Their answers are quite surprising, having less to do with "losing their religion" and more about the desire for a community that isn't made stale by simply maintaining the status quo.
I think you will find that Essential Church builds on the call in Simple Church for Clarity, Movement, Alignment, and Focus with equally concrete solutions toward making their worship community an essential part these young people's lives again:
- Simplify - develop a clear structure and process for making disciples.
- Deepen - provide strong biblical teaching and preaching.
- Expect - let members know the need for commitment to the congregation.
- Multiply - emphasize evangelism, outward focus, and starting new churches.
- Plan to attend the Essential Church Training Event next year. Dan Garland, the head of the Pastoral Ministries and Church Consulting area told me this morning that they are planning this event for Feb 26-28, 2009 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. This will be something to take your whole staff to. I asked my pastor today if he would consider taking our ministry staff to this event. I'll post a link as soon as the event is online.
- Subscribe to Sam Rainer's Blog (don't miss the post Three Myths about Church Dropouts)
- If you haven't already done so, read, study, and implement the principles in Simple Church.
- Go ahead and pre-order Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts
- Take your church through the study Vibrant Church: Becoming a Healthy Church in the 21st Century