I want to use this blog post to talk about what many call Deliberate Simplicity when it comes to how we “do” church. What does this mean? Well, as many of you have probably noticed, we keep things pretty simple around here. If someone is looking for a church with state-of-the-art production and a long list of customized programs, Saco Bay Community Church will probably disappoint them. While we want to do things well, we channel most of our energy towards fostering church cultures of evangelism, discipling, and hospitality–to give just a few examples–rather than an array of programs.
Am I saying church programs are bad and are to be avoided? No. Church programs have their use and can be helpful, and there will be times where we have them and benefit from them. But, we believe they should be “downstream” from our primary priorities. One unintended consequence of being program driven is that it can make people think of the church as a spiritual drive-thru, where customers come to partake of religious goods and services. Another concern is that it can endlessly subdivide the congregation along demographic lines at the expense of our collective unity. Again, this is not to say that men’s or women’s bible studies are bad. In fact, we do them! But it does mean we must be careful. After all, our central identity is based in the whole gathering (which is why Sunday morning is important, contrary to what some say), and not the small groupings.
This is why we keep things simple. We want to see more members involved in each other’s lives helping one another grow in Jesus.
Since spiritual growth cannot be manufactured, we orient our congregational life around the ordinary means of grace–the Word, prayer, and the sacraments (by which I simply mean a rite that is ordained by Christ, i.e. Baptism and The Lord’s Supper)–and we emphasize personal initiative and life-on-life relationships, with corporate worship as the center and springboard for all we are and do.
This is why we keep things simple. We want to see more members involved in each other’s lives helping one another grow in Jesus. We are wary of doing things that will fuel a consumer church culture. Some will come and not stay because we don’t have everything they’re looking for–that’s okay. But our hope and prayer is that if we continue to focus on the Word of God as central to all we do, the Spirit of God will work in the hearts and lives of many.