Simple Church

The Need for a Velvet Revolution

For the past few
months I have been working part time as a web designer. This may not seem to be
a good place to find parallels to the house church movement but I found some
interesting comparisons with how people use web sites and how people “do
church”. It seems hard to imagine but when people get "on the web" to search
sites or look for something to buy, etc. they don't actually stop and try to
figure out how to use the site they are on but rather prefer to "muddle

Read it for yourself, from Web Usability expert Steve

 “We don’t
figure out how things work. We muddle through…"

"One of the things that becomes obvious as soon as
you do any usability testing—whether you’re testing Web sites, software, or
household appliances—is the extent to which people use things all the time
without understanding how they work, or with completely wrong-headed ideas about
how they work

Faced with any sort of technology, very few people
take the time to read instructions. Instead, we forge ahead and muddle through,
making up our own vaguely plausible stories about what we’re doing and why it
works… And muddling through is not limited to beginners. Even technically savvy
users often have surprising gaps in their understanding of how things work…

Why does this happen?

1. It’s not important to us. For most of us,
it doesn’t matter to us whether we understand how things work, as long as we can
use them. It’s not for lack of intelligence, but for lack of caring. In the
great scheme of things, it’s just not important to us.

2. If we find
something that works, we stick to it.
Once we find something that works—no
matter how badly—we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if
we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one." (Steve Krug,


For those of us involved in
trying to steer the church back to her early, First Century, New
Testament  roots, we must realize that many of those believing friends around us
have possibly spent their entire lifetime in church "muddling through". For them
church and "how we do it" is just not that important in the big picture of life.
Or they might not be looking for a better way because what they have is working.
We all know the: If-it’s-not- broke-don’t- fix-it types.


Our call and challenge is to make
truth acceptable. Passion alone does not often change they way people think.
They need peaceful, rational and reasoned arguments from people they trust
and know love them. Many in the  simple church lifestyle are saying that we are
in a "revolution", which is the overthrow of an unjust government. In many ways
I agree, but I believe that this must be "Velvet Revolution" like was lived out
before the world’s eyes during the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia. This
non-violent, bloodless revolution happened because so many people – at times up
to 500,000 – took to the streets en masse to protest to the way things were.


Within days the government
voluntarily chose to give up their monopoly of power and allowed democratic
elections for the first time in 50 years!


May the Grace of the Lord be on
us all.


Yours for the least in the


Jeff Gilbertson

One reply on “The Need for a Velvet Revolution”

Excellent analysis, Jeff. I spent many years muddling though church myself. I think the church needs a wake up call to return to its NT roots.

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