Thursday, August 14, 2008

Simple Strategy

Christians are so good at over-complicating things. There are a ridiculous number of methods and formulas and acronyms for ministry these days. Everyone seems to have the latest definitive system.

Here was the apostle Paul's system ...
"I did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom; for I have determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
I like Paul's method... just Jesus. Just follow him, know him, love him, be close to him. Just do what he does, go to where he goes, say the things he says, focus on people he focuses on, etc. Just agree with him and submit to him as he lives his life through us.

Does this sound too mystical? Perhaps even impractical? I would humbly suggest that those who believe this to be a fantastical oversimplification have perhaps never actually experienced a life of intimately knowing and following Christ.

We all, myself included, are so easily seduced by methods and systems that center on ideas and ideals, often finding ourselves more focused on the teachings of Christ rather than the actual, living person of Jesus. The power of the incarnation and resurrection challenges us with the powerful reality that Jesus not only described and exemplified a way but offered, and continues to offer, his own living person as the Way.
"I am concerned that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3).

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).


Bob Carder said...


Zack said...

John - I've been thinking about this post for a while along with some of the discussions we've had on the topic. I want to challenge you to consider that your feelings on keeping things simple come out of your calling and gifting. In other words, perhaps strategy and complexity frustrates you not because it's the wrong path as much as it's the wrong path for you. Perhaps you are made to play a prophetic or pastoral role, while others play the role of ministry strategists. Just thinking out loud.

John Lynch said...

I appreciate your thought and interaction on this topic, Zack. I love our dialog together.

I'm actually a huge fan of both strategy and complexity. And even my personality and giftedness are inclined toward those realities.

My observation, however, is that when people assert our own strategy and planned complexity, we are often distracted from the genuinely life-giving strategy and complexity that comes from God. In that sense, I don't believe it's the wrong path for me but rather a symptom of humanity's drive toward self-serving independence.

We fixate on plans and miss the person of Christ. We invest into roads and miss relationships. We build structures and frequently, in so doing, freeze the flow of God's Spirit in our midst.