By Robby Gallaty
A few years ago, our church staff implemented a painful (though necessary) revision of our current programs. We applied something called the K.I.S.S. paradigm. Everyone on staff was encouraged to examine their ministries through the lens of our mission statement—Deliver, Disciple, Deploy—and to determine what things they needed to Keep, Increase, Start, or Stop (K.I.S.S.). Every ministry in our church was brought to the table. Nothing was off limits.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
This kind of evaluation is very difficult because it removes what you want and reveals what God wants. Far too often we allow our egos to hinder spiritual growth in ourselves and those around us, when God wants us to toss aside our preconceptions, lay down what mankind sees as important, and embrace the mission to which he has called us.
In the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai, British prisoners of war in Burma during World War II are building a bridge for their Japanese captors. They devote enormous amounts of time constructing a bridge that serves as more than a channel for passage; it becomes something beautiful and wonderful for them. At the end of the film, there is a challenging moment when another group of Allied commandos force the captives to consider blowing up the bridge to keep Japanese trains from using it. It’s a very difficult decision for the men because of the extraordinary effort they have expended in building the bridge. The men have become so focused on the intricacies of their effort that they have forgotten the larger mission of winning the war.
I share this because as you rediscover discipleship, you may need to think seriously about eliminating some good programs in your church if you want to do what is best. Train yourself and your people not to be impressed with success in the church that does not accomplish the goal set forth by Christ: making disciples. Don’t be impressed with momentary feats. Look for the fruit that lasts forever.
How many marriages were restored last year?
How many people are striving for holiness?
How many men and women are holding each other accountable?
How many addicts are experiencing victories over drugs, pornography, or alcohol?
How many groups are reproducing themselves exponentially?
How many fellow men and women are you investing in now?
These victories and more can happen when the church focuses on making disciples. Even at the expense of some great ministries that accomplish very good things. The task of evaluating and potentially eliminating some very good things so that you are left only with the best things is extremely difficult. But every true leader knows that leading is rarely easy. With wisdom, prayerful consideration, and a focus on making disciples, try using the K.I.S.S method to determine what should be done and then take the necessary steps to implement the change that is needed.
Robby Gallaty is the Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN. He is the author of Rediscovering Discipleship and other books.