The Difficulty of Simplicity

Why is it that simplicity is so difficult?  As leaders we recognize the wisdom of keeping things simple, yet we seem inexplicably drawn to complexity. 

When I planted a church in 1997 my mantra was “Do less and do it better.”  When pressed to start Sunday  School, Wednesday night services or special ministries I answered, “No, we’re going to do less and do it better.”   For three years I held true to that principle until we moved out of a weekly set up and tear down facility into our own building.  Suddenly we went from doing a few things well, to starting a multitude of new ministries, programs and events that served to reduce our effectiveness .  Quantity won out over quality and it hurt us.

Why did it happen?  Lots of reasons…the pressure to please people, neglecting our predetermined strategy, getting caught up in our success and loss of focus, just to name a few.  It’s easy to build a complex church, ministry or life, all you have to do is add more.  But simplicity is the product of intentionality and discipline.  And it’s this focused simplicity that allows us to be more effective in what we do.

Are you longing for excellence?  Maybe your next step isn’t improving what you have, but eliminating those things that aren’t absolutely essential to your mission.