Why transition from legacy to simple church?

Transitioning from a legacy church to a network of simple/organic churches generally involves letting go of the building, and may result in the paid staff finding other means of income. Of course, many hybrid forms are also possible.

Here are some of the reasons why a church might consider transitioning:

  1. Finances are tight; they’ve already had to fire some of their part or full-time staff. The building payments are beyond their reach. It’s either transition into something else, letting the building go, or close the doors permanently and let people fend for themselves. They know that there’s little finance involved in meeting in homes so they decide to try it. In these challenging economic times, this is becoming more and more common.
  2. Simple/organic is one of the new buzz-words.Many  churches are moving towards the organic end of  a continuum. They want to be on the so-called “cutting edge” of what God is doing. So they change the name of their home groups to home churches, and empower their leaders to baptize and give communion. They may or may not expect everyone to turn up on Sunday too. In a complete transition, the Sunday service will at least become sporadic.
  3. God is speaking to them as a church. He’s telling them that it’s time to transition–either wholly or in part. He’s challenging them that this is a way to reach out to their communities and make a difference.

Obviously the third reason is the best, but God could easily use a combination of two of these things. For example, a church might realize that their financial resources are dwindling and it’s only a question of time before they have to let the senior pastor go, but as they seek the Lord about the situation, he reveals to them some of the principles behind simple/organic church. Another example: some of the church members start reading some books on simple/organic church that convict them about reaching out into their neighborhoods, and again, as the church seeks the Lord, he reveals to them a plan for transitioning.

What other reasons might a church consider the transition?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/KySimpleChurch SimpleChurchAlliance

    I recently came across a study demonstrated we would need to start 6500 new 200 member churches a year between now and 2040 in order to maintain our current church attendance levels (as if that is the goal).  Simple Churches can easily multiply and a church might decide to make the transition because they see that it makes the most sense if they really want to allow for the most people possible to not only be connected to The Body, but to be functioning within The Body as His disciple.

    • felicitydale

      Those are extremely interesting figures. Just think of the cost involved in starting that number of 200 member churches. Do the figures allow for increase in the population too–ie is this keeping the same percentage of people in church or is it the same total number of people attending church?

      I’d love it if churches decided to make the change for that reason. One of my future posts will touch on this.

  • Mizelljoel

    We must understand a simple truth.  We, the people, are the church.  There is no such thing as going to church.  It’s physically impossible to ‘go to church’.  When this simple but profound revelation hits you it will change you.  You will begin the transition of becoming what you already are.  God is in this impartation and he will help you by connecting you to others who have gotten the same revelation so that you won’t be alone.

    • felicitydale

      I completely agree with you. Church is lifestyle, family, relationships (with the Lord and with each other). It is neither building nor event.

  • http://www.seniorplan.info/ Dan

    “What other reasons might a church consider the transition?”

    For me, there are some very practical considerations:

    (1) shhhh, don’t say this out loud (I might be labeled an alarmist), but there may come a day when readily identifiable churches may become targets of persecution, yes, even in Ameirca; the church may need to begin now to prepare to be able to function underground.

    (2) to resolve concerns about the questionable stewardship related to the cost to build and maintain, per square foot (related to actual use) dedicated church buildings (shrines, cathedrals) as contrasted to the same in the home of a “member.” The home expense is already being paid; the “church building” expense calls upon the member to help pay for a second building, much of which is unused in many cases except for 3-5 hours per week.

    These two matters stimulated my interest in house church some years back.  

    • felicitydale

      Dan, I’ve often wondered why the Lord has let the simple/organic movement expand so rapidly in this country. It wouldn’t take much. I think there are a number of potential scenarios: if we continue down the same road sociologically/politically, things could easily become much more challenging. A global economic meltdown of some description could have a devastating effect on churches that need a lot of funds. And who knows what might happen if terrorists targeted church buildings?

      I totally agree with you on the finances.

  • Maurice Smith

    Felicity, thank you for your faithful and consistent “apologia” for what simple church is all about. And, Oh yes, welcome to WordPress.

    • felicitydale

      Maurice, thank you for the encouragment.

    • felicitydale

      Maurice, thank you for the encouragement

  • Bob

    Your post loaded, then disappeared from my iPad

    • felicitydale

      Sorry about that–I’ve no idea why. I don’t have an ipad so can’t check, but it’s fine on my computer.