In our small city we have one dry cleaner/laundry. The interesting thing about Stewart’s French Dry Cleaners, apart from the fact than no one named Stewart works there, or that no one knows what a French dry cleaner is, but I digress, the interesting thing is that they succeed through basic simplicity.
They do good work, always the place to start. They’re friendly. They do not give you a receipt for your order. You just drop your stuff off along with your name, and walk out. They do not accept credit cards: cash or check only. When you return and give your name, your clean clothes are brought out and that’s it. If they are busy, you might write up your own order ticket, leave it on your pile of clothes and walk out. If it’s that important to you, they’ll deliver. After a while they’ll know your name and have things ready before you open the door.
I wonder what it would be like to run a church like that. Keep it simple. Do good work. Know names. Be hospitable to everyone. Use the best affordable technology behind the scenes, but stick to the basics out front, make home deliveries if needed. Maybe we complicate things too much, not because they are complicated, but because making them complicated is a way to give the impression of hard work under tremendous pressure without actually having to accomplish much.
Sometimes we get seduced by the latest gimmick or church management fad instead of keeping it simple. Pay attention to the basics: proclaim the gospel, celebrate the sacraments, and see that our gathering places function to build up the body of Christ and send them out to do the work God has given us to do.