What NOT To Do (Part One)

Friday, January 15, 2010
Gotta admit, I am an Apple geek. I have a MacBook and an iPod and am trying to get over my loyalty to BlackBerry and switch to an iPhone when my contract is up in six months...

As much as I like their products and design sensibilities I am intrigued by Apple's management philosophy. Although I could do without the black turtlenecks, when Steve Jobs speaks, I listen.

Like when he says this:

"At Apple, we are as proud of the things we have not done as we are of the things we have done".

Huge implications for life and leadership that I want to touch on in a couple of blog entries. Next time out, I will talk about what doing less means for our individual lives. For today, I want to talk about what it means for Next Level Church.

From our extremely humble beginnings in another church's space four years ago, we have been determined to be simple, spare, and the least complicated church you would ever find.

We would major on only a few things, be willing to say "No!" till our tongues bled, and be relentlessly committed to excellence in the few areas we said "Yes!" to.

Here is what we say yes to:

1. Engaging worship that is accessible to the person disconnected from God and a Sunday morning environment which communicates how welcoming God's heart really is.
2. Life Groups which foster biblical community.
3. Sunday morning environments for kids and students which are second to none, majoring on relationships.
4. Giving ourselves away in generous community service.
5. Providing opportunities for individuals and families to grow spiritually through self-feeding of the Bible (the Life Journal and the SOAP process).
6. A simple, nimble, innovative leadership structure.

That's it. Notice what is not there:

-Macrame' for Jesus.
-Bible Bingo nights.
-Karate for Christ.
-A crazy church schedule which has parents stressed and kids resenting church.
-Political advocacy or involvement.
-Endless options for Christian education with no common theme or unifying thread.
-Confusing paths for involvement.

I have a basic and passionate conviction that a crowded church calendar is the enemy of spiritual growth and development. Worship, community, service, ability to nurture one's own spiritual growth...these are biblical non-negotiables. We say yes to these things and no to virtually everything else.

The results (imperfect though they are, and young as we still are): unity, spiritual and emotional health, a culture which allows for 'come as you are' with no insider language and customs, healthy leaders who balance spiritual service with family life and physical and relational health.

What is good for the church is good for the individual, and I will post about that next time!

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