We’re not that smart. We don’t know what to do in every situation and we definitely don’t have all the answers. That’s why, at Nativity, we try to make things as simple as possible, relying on some core values that shape our culture, determine our decisions, and guide our steps.
Every organization operates on some kind of values – whether they know it or not. Values define an organization’s personality and provide clarity about how to behave. Over the next six weeks, we will be using this space to dig into each of Nativity’s core values and what they mean to us. And we’re starting with the most essential core value: simple. Simplicity is accessible. Simplicity is easy to manage. But it takes hard work to find the core, the irreducible minimum, and harder still to maintain it.
Think about it: at a diner you can order from a vast selection of choices. Some of the most successful restaurants, on the other hand, have only a short menu with limited options. Instead of serving many different dishes of diverse cuisines, they focus on their core specialty. They become the best at what they do.
Here at Nativity, we’ve identified six core values that we want to embody in our work as a church. These six are not the only things we value, but, after our profession of faith, they are the most essential. Each points back to our core mission: to love God, love others, and make disciples.
Here are a few ways we’ve tried to keep it simple in our ministry:
Our strategy is to grow wider as a church and deeper as disciples by embracing three strategic anchors: welcoming outsiders, shaping a clear discipleship path, and creating an exceptional weekend experience. These strategies are straightforward, understandable and aim at clear outcomes.
Many churches inundate parishioners with requests, programs, events, fundraisers, and the multiplication of ministries. The sheer number of options paralyze rather than mobilize people. When people don’t know what to do, they tend to do nothing. At Nativity we have developed 5 steps, and only 5, that we want everyone to (eventually) take: Serve (in ministry or mission), Tithe (or give to your place of worship), Engage (in small groups), Practice (prayer & the Sacraments), Share (your faith, by investing in and inviting the unchurched).
Simple Communication/Lack of Clutter
‘Churchy’ language can sometimes be obscure and unintelligible to unchurched people and make guests feel like outsiders. Whenever possible, we use language that sounds familiar to our guests. We’re consistent in what we announce in the announcements (and what we don’t), what’s included on our website and in social media (and what’s not). A simple look also applies to our campus facilities. Our spaces are clearly marked and laid out, clean, and free of clutter. There is almost an austerity to them that we believe is less “clubby” and more accessible.
These are a few examples of how we strive for simplicity. Check out the blog again next week for the second value: adaptable.