Simple, Small, and Subtle

Simple, Small, and Subtle

Free Methodist Bishop Matt Thomas described the ideal urban ministry as simple, small, and subtle at the Free Methodist Urban Fellowship conference this past week. He pointed out that this is in total oppostion to our approach to urban ministry where everything is big, complex, and loud.

His words reasonated within my spirit this week. His extensive experiences with cities across the world revealed that the ministries that were simple in structure (did a few things well), small in size (a few people ministering to a few people), and subtle (begining relational and not programatically). These approaches have a radical, but not reckless approach towards ministering to those in city. Instead of going to a place and trying to raise funds for a church plant, the focus is on reaching people and developing communities around a relatively simple set of core processes.

This is the message of books such as "Simple church" by Thom Ranier, or "Deliberately Simple" by Dan Browning. Simple churches and ministries have faster growth, incredible flexibility, and are easily reproducible. This is a challenge to the church status quo where we develop programs to reach people, as opposed to reaching people and allowing that to define our programs. This approach overcomes our common ministry obstacles that we do not have enough money, equipment, or experience to make a difference. Simplicity centers ministry, smallness mobilizes ministry, and subtleness influences the approach.

Whether you are leading a church, taking part in ministry, developing a non-profit service agency, or feeling led to minister to your neighbors, I want to encourage you to heed the powerful words of Bishop Thomas to keep your efforts simple, small, and subtle. I believe that this is how God is moving and leading to change and bless our world.

May God bless,

Pastor M Traylor