As the name implies, simple churches are simple. As seen in the graphic, simple churches are a gathering of believers (Ichthys) with Jesus as leader and king (crown), dedicated to loving God, loving others and making disciples.
Simple churches frequently meet in homes, though they can and do meet almost anywhere. Some meet in coffee shops, restaurants, office buildings, we even know of one that meets in a skate park. Some simple churches meet in a different place each week.
Simple churches are also sometimes called “zero-budget” churches. Simple churches are led by volunteers, so that no salaries are paid. Technology in simple churches is typically limited to what most people already have in their homes. There are two key benefits to this “zero-budget” approach.
First, simple church members give finances where, when and as much as God lead’s them to give; they are encouraged to “live simply and give outrageously.” Because there are no buildings, salaries or programs to pay for, 100% of simple church giving goes to missions, pregnancy centers, orphan care, the homeless, or an endless list of other worthy causes.
Second, for the same reasons that simple churches are able to function without budgets, they are much easier to multiply than traditional churches. A simple church can be hosted anywhere that people can gather and study the Bible. There have been instances of missionaries planting hundreds of simple churches in unchurched regions of the world in a year or less. A simple church network in Houston has planted 45 house churches in less than 3 years, with some of them being fourth generation churches (churches planted by church plants of church plants).
In order to plant new churches, simple churches typically do not grow larger than 15-20 people before splitting and planting a second church. This approach allows simple churches to multiply but also fosters a sense of intimacy and a family-like atmosphere that leads to relational discipleship, growth and accountability.
Hear what simple church leader Curtis Sergeant has to say about simple church structure and why it is important for multiplying disciples and churches.
Check out this great video about the power of simple church evangelism and multiplication!