I grew up the youngest of three boys and from the time I could walk I was changing jerseys to fit whatever sport was in season. Baseball was always my first love but I also played American football, basketball, and I dabbled in soccer for a few years. I played on a plethora of teams and was coached by many various people over the course of my life.
Each of those coaches seemed to have their own little slogan or catch phrase to help us stay focused on what was important. One specific coach used the acronym K.I.S.S., which stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid”. As kids who were learning the ins and outs of both in-game strategy as well as the official rules we could easily get bogged down in complexities. Our coach would often say (or yell) “K.I.S.S.” to remind us to not over complicate things but to stick to the basics.
Last week a team of us were in rural Uganda doing a NewThing Catalyst Community training with 30 churches and 100 church leaders. The Catalyst Community event is a three day training that focuses on moving churches towards the ministry of multiplication and the starting of new networks.
We took a team of nine to the training to help lead, teach, and facilitate. Five of those nine were established pastors from Nairobi who have all planted churches of their own and are world class, top level leaders. At different points throughout the training each of these five Kenyan pastors came up to me and in some form or fashion said something along the lines of, “I’m amazed how simple these rural Ugandan pastors have made church planting. We’ve complicated church planting and created so many unnecessary barriers to multiplication.”
Most would say that these highly trained pastors from Nairobi were the one’s coming to impart wisdom to the rural pastors in Uganda. And, in many ways, they did. However, it turned out that the relatively untrained, local Ugandan pastors had just as much, if not more, to teach the Kenyan leaders who were present.
As church planters and church leaders we have to be reminded of the K.I.S.S. principle. To see movement happen it is imperative that we “Keep It Simple” because simple is reproducible and simple is repeatable. If something is simple anyone can do it. If something is simple it can be done again and again. Those are concepts the building blocks of movement.
Especially in the West we have to be challenged to strip down our processes and our structures in order to multiply at a greater rate. For example, if we need $250,000 and 100 people on our launch team before we ever plant a church how many churches will get started? How many people will be willing to undertake such a task? But if we simply need a living room or a mango tree and the faith to tell others about Christ then, well, anyone can do that.
Ask yourself what is actually essential for your next church plant and ask what you can do without. Discuss with your team what truly needs to happen and what it is that you’d like to see happen. Reduce “church” down to its most basic form and forget about all the bells and whistles we’d like to have because it makes us or our ministry look better.
Whatever you do with your next church plant just remember to “Keep It Simple Stupid”.