Why is transitioning a church so difficult? Because when existing Christians get involved in simple/organic church life they have to go through a process that our friend Wolfgang Simson calls “Death Valley.” And it’s usually a slow and painful journey. Jesus told us in the parable of the wineskins that those who have tasted the old wine will say, “The old wine is better.” Until the Lord changes people’s DNA, they are more likely to return to what they have known.
So what is Death Valley?
It’s as though someone on the mountain top of legacy church can see the mountain top of simple/organic church in the distance, and they assume that they can go straight from one mountain top to the other. What they don’t realize is that is a valley between the two–Death Valley.
Old traditions die hard. I remember one awesome family leaving us because the mother couldn’t handle not dressing her children in their Sunday best to come to church! In order to experience the liberty that simple church represents, people who have been Christians for any length of time have to die to some of the very good things that legacy church represents.
- Professionally led worship–in simple church you are lucky to have an out-of-tune guitar.
- Well prepared talks–there’s no pastor who can spend hours preparing a stimulating sermon. Everyone takes part in an interactive discussion.
- Children and teens ministry–you can’t just drop your kids off at Sunday School to have an hour free from distractions.
- Someone else to make all the decisions–in simple/organic church, everyone is involved.
- The sense of community–people are very involved in each other’s lives
- Everyone can participate–not just a few in leadership.
- The Holy Spirit is in charge of the times together (unless you are doing “Honey, I shrunk the church!”
- Freedom from religious expectations and traditions
- The sense of being on mission with God, reaching out to a world that doesn’t know him
- The excitement of giving birth to daughter and granddaughter churches