What kind of church is TCC? (Part 4: Simple)

16 October 2012

Gateshead Cranes

What does it mean to be a ‘simple church’?

In our TCC booklet, ‘Our mission, vision, and ministry philosophy’, we say:

[Being a simple church] is our strategic distinctive. Being a simple church means that we focus on just doing a few things well;…a very short ‘to-do’ list and a very long ‘to-don’t’ list…Being simple allows us to focus on people more than on programmes, and it means we stay very focused on our central mission of making disciples of Jesus. Specifically, we do three basic things: leadership training, community groups, and Sunday gatherings. These three are the backbone of our process for making disciples of Jesus.

The point of being simple is to keep the main thing the main thing. We want to make Jesus famous, loved, and followed – and we don’t want to do anything that will clutter or distract from that aim. Sadly it is a very real danger for churches to become ‘over-programmed’. Pastor and author Brad House writes,

‘When someone is depressed, we send them to a church counsellor ..When someone wants to grow in Christ, we sign him or her up for a mentor program. When I cannot pay my rent, I submit a benevolence request. If I want someone to hear the gospel, I invite them to Sunday service…We have so programmed the church to function as a well-oiled machine that we leave no room for Christians to be Christians. Are not these the functions of the church, as in the people of God, rather than the church, the institution? …We think we are helping by providing every imaginable service, but instead we are robbing the church of the joy of living out their faith and imaging God through encouragement, prayer, generosity, and witness.’

At TCC we believe that a simple church philosophy keeps our focus on people rather than on programmes. A simple church built around community groups, Sunday gatherings, and leadership training enables us to stay centred on the gospel, to enjoy authentic community, and to grow in love and obedience to Jesus.

This blog post was written by Dan Martin.