Why is it that some ministries are more successful than others? One church reaches hundreds while another reaches tens. One church disciples it’s people, while another distances them. One church grows while another groans. So what’s the difference?

There are a lot of things that go toward a church’s level of success. However, there are a few hallmark traits that all successful churches seem to share. One of these, and possibly the most overlooked, is simplicity.

Successful churches are simple churches. More often than not, the more a church does the less it will accomplish! When we try to do too many things, it becomes difficult to do anything well. More programs sound great, but they also come with more problems!

The best churches I know are also the simplest ones. They are making a greater impact on their communities and reaching more people because they are doing less! They are focused on what matters most instead of being distracted.

Simplicity is what differentiates the most successful ministries. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it is usually simpler! If simplicity makes such a difference, how can we simplify our own ministries? When we simplify, how do we determine what to do and what to stop doing?

The most difficult part of simplifying your church will be deciding what to do and what to stop. You see, simple churches are the ones that decide to only do a few things and do them well. They don’t do a lot, but they make sure that what they do counts! How do they get there though? Here are three ways to decide what’s most important and simplify your ministry.

3 Ways to Simplify Your Church

1) Do what you’re good at.

We are at our best when we focus on what we do best. So what is it that your church does best? It’s better to drop a program you enjoy than it is to keep it and do it poorly. Too many churches are trying to do what the church down the street is doing instead of what God called them to do.

I’ve always believed this: If God calls your church to do something, He will equip you to do it well! Running programs half-heartedly is not nearly as glorifying to the Lord as doing what He created us to do with excellence. When churches do the things they are best at, it gives glory to the God who gave us the gifts! Simplifying a church requires choosing a few things to focus on and do well. So when you’re choosing what those things will be, choose the things your church is best gifted to do.

2) Do what matters most.

There are some things we can drop, and others that we can’t. It’s okay to drop a dying program, but it’s not okay to drop what matters most. While there are a lot of different ways to go about it, sharing the gospel and making disciples are two things we can’t stop doing. Why? Because they are the things that matter most!

When you begin to simplify your church and ministry, make room first for what matters most. Find out how you are best discipling the people in your congregation and make that one of the few things you do well. Identify where you’re most effective in sharing the gospel and protect it at all costs. When it’s time to simplify and focus on only doing a few things to do well, make sure you prioritize what matters most.

3) Do what makes the most impact.

The third and final step to simplifying your church is finding out what you’re doing that has the greatest impact. In business terms this would be the ROI, or return on investment. Successful businesses know what gives them the greatest ROI and they pursue it relentlessly. I think there is a lesson in this for us as the church. What is it that’s giving your church the biggest spiritual ROI?

When you find out what it is, make it a priority and keep doing it. Successful churches maximize their impact this way. When it comes to the areas of spiritual ROI, volunteers and staff will only have to work half as hard to accomplish twice as much. Why? Because these areas of ministry are in your church’s spiritual sweet spot! If your church can only do a few things well, make sure you are doing what will have the biggest impact.

If you want to simplify your church for success, decide to do what you’re good at, what matters most, and what makes the most impact. These three things will serve as waypoints as you navigate the way to simplicity.

So what about you? What are the few things that God has called your church to do? How can you simplify your church and set it up for success? I would love to hear your thoughts. If you would like to continue the conversation or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at jeff.cochran@ministryarchitects.com.