Seduction of Complex Missions 6


“Have turned the world upside down. . . ” (Acts 17:6)

You do not turn the world upside down with complexity.

Jerusalem was turned upside down by “ordinary, unschooled men. . .” (Acts 4:13)

You do not turn the world upside down with complexity.

Paul, the seminary-trained missionary, kept it simple.

Complexity is found in the essence and mission of the Trinity, not in the saints. And definitely not in the saints’ strategies, methods, agencies, and structures. In fact, I have observed an inverse relationship between the multiplication of disciples, churches, and leaders and the degree of complexity found in evangelical expectations, training, and methods: the more complex we become, the slower the sanctification and gospel expansion.

You do not turn the world upside down with complexity.

If 1st century church planting was as complex as it is now, the gospel would have remained in the Middle East.

But there is an appeal in the complex to the Western mind. Complexity is seen as cool, hip, only something the few–the elite, the special–may achieve.

We can’t plant churches from the harvest with 100% conversion growth. Churches must be started with long-term Kingdom citizens. That way, they are able to manifest and maintain complex structures and expressions from the start. We need to start churches that look like churches who have been through 10, 20, 30 years of sanctification and development. That is cool! New believers don’t know how to oversee and administer the complexity our egos crave. That is not cool.

Simple is not cool. It is not something to write home about. There is little to manage if things are simple, little to control.


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6 thoughts on “Seduction of Complex Missions

  • Andrew DIPROSE

    I agree totally. I believe the NO PLACE LEFT Movement has much to teach in regards to this post but many, including many Italians and missionaries here, are not interested because it is not cool and because it demands obedience and practical disciple making. Very sad, it makes me angry!

    Andrew from Rome.

  • JD Post author

    I appreciate you sharing, from the field, Andrew. It is good for us to read about realities in Western Europe.

  • Bill

    A great article, but as I understand it, I can’t agree with the section above that is in italics. Why do we need complexity at all? Did Jesus start a church that looked like a church that had been through 10, 20, 30 years of sanctification and development? The apostle Paul and others planted churches with 100% conversion growth! So while I love the article for the most part, I definitely don’t agree and that paragraph seems counter to the rest of article. Am I missing something here?

  • JD Post author

    Yes, Bill, you are missing something. What you are saying is what I am saying in the post. What is in italics is reflective of the common mindset.

  • Douglas A. Torok

    Well thought out and presented, total 100% agreement. Having served for a number of years as a ‘sent one’ from a local church only, my experiences include what you describe here. My understanding of ‘church planting’ is local churches are the result of local conversions, which are the result of evangelistic efforts. Discipling of newborn saints will happen as the local church grows, spiritual gifts given, shepherds raised up. It doesn’t necessarily eliminate complexity as local churches maintain public tesimony, an Acts 6 scenario may present itself. Division of labor patterned by the local needs, spiritual job qualifications were determined then used for selection by the local brothers to discern from the Lord who should be responsible, God appears to have re-directed two of the original seven, one into His presence, the other into a city of Samaria. Nevertheless, the functioning of the local church under the only true Head, has by spiritual definition and application, complexity, ‘body being one, but having many members’ Thankfully the Head faithfully attends when He gathers His local members, and HE functions as such! I have yet to witness a living body without the Head attached and functioning!

    Good stuff brother, keep up challenging us to thinkg scripturally, and act accordingly!