Sometimes we make ministry too difficult. It takes too many meetings to make decisions. Complex systems create bottlenecks for efficiency. Our attempts at good stewardship sometimes turn into overly cautious acts of missed opportunities. Committees get bogged down in procedures and reports and become blinded to evaluations and outcomes. While all of these systems, committees, processes, boards, and procedures once had a purpose, that purpose is sometimes lost in the minutia, history, and bureaucracy. Too often ministry has become just too difficult and complex.  This is why people sometimes walk away from the church. This may also be one of the reasons 67% of the churches in the US are no longer growing.

To simplify ministry, congregations will need to boil everything down to one simple focus – relationships. Yes, building relationships with new people in their community. Rather than getting bogged down in all the ways “we’ve always done things” and all the lengthy decisions about buildings and money, what if we were to focus on new relationships with new people? What if the people of the congregations reflected the essence of this scripture? 

And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over 

on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. 

1 Thessalonians 3:12 MSG

How different would the church be if your entire congregation portrayed this type of love for their neighbor? What kind of ripple effect would a love splashing over on the community have? Imagine what kind of God-sized impact could be made in your mission field!

Given the facts that 84% of Americans report being spiritually open in some way and 52% are feeling lonely (73% of Millennials), people are hungry for relationships. Everywhere we look, statistics tell us people have a deep desire for community. What if the church were to stop focusing on programs and just focus on building new relationships? 

It’s really quite simple. Have a cup of coffee or a soda with someone. Ask them to share their story. What brought them to the area? The conversation is not about inviting them to church. It is simply building an authentic relationship with someone new because you care.

Ask a current friend to introduce you to a friend of theirs you don’t know to expand your circle of friends. Sometimes we get caught in our current bubble of friends. Worse, we get stuck in our Christian bubble of only people who attend our church. 

Start a conversation with someone new. Find something you have in common with someone you encounter as a launching point for conversation. For example, you notice a person’s shirt has a destination you love to travel to or your favorite team’s logo. “Oh, I see you’re a Kansas Chiefs fan, too!” That’s all it takes.  The conversation is off and running.

What if your church became known as the “love splashing” church? In today’s world where the church is often seen as divisive, what if the church could begin to change that image? It’s simple. It costs nothing. And it starts by building one new relationship at a time.