Deliberate Simplicity is about being committed to the core expressions of the church and nothing else. Dropping pretense, program and sometimes even pixels to maintain a purity in the mission of the Jesus. Dave Browning is the pastor of Christ The King church, a community relentlessly focused on three things; Small Groups, Worship and Outreach.
All that stuff I love. The book? Not so much.
The book pushes this idea of a “Deliberately Simple” church hard, too hard. It felt more infomercial than inspiration. And in the end an ill fated attempt at creating a new kind of church brand. The heart was lost in the tone (or maybe the small font, was it just me?)
Deliberate Simplicity opens with the telling of a story of a perfect utopian faith community. A church that has it all. Which church would this be? The author’s of course. It’s tough to get into a story that leads like that.
DS oversold itself.
A few lines that drove the book for me…
(On the use of overhead projectors.) “We’re not trying to dazzle people with Pixels.” Not Shane Hipps fans I take it.
“This is not to say that Deliberately Simple church is the only church interested in reaching out to a lost world. But…”
“I have people tell me, ‘Dave I don’t go to church, but if I ever did, I would check out Christ The King.'”
“CTK was shaping up differently than any church church I’d seen before. I was moaning in my office about how I didn’t have a mentor to show me the way.”
CTK is “different than any church you’ve ever seen before”.
Felt too self promoted. DS also seemed to keep us at a distance from the author, leaving us with charts, church stories and lots of quotes from other people.
Sounds like God’s doing some cool stuff at CTK but as a reader/leader it didn’t work for me.
Begs the question though, do we always need to try and brand the great things God is doing and attempt to sell them? Can commercialization of even good stuff be harmful?