Lessons from Vacation #1: Simple is Better

IMG_4688During my vacation at the beach I reflected on a lot of things.  It’s amazing how much processing you can get done when you are relaxed and just think through things.

One of the things I reflected on was how complicated we can make things in life and ministry.  I’m there, sitting on the beach watching my girls laugh and have a blast while we jumped over waves, rode the waves and built sand objects.  They didn’t have their smartphones on the beach playing the latest, coolest game and we weren’t at an expensively lavished all-inclusive resort.

We were on a simple beach doing simple things and they were having a blast! For some reason, this was really fascinating to me watching them having fun doing very simple things.  There was nothing complicated about what we were doing, we kept it very simple.

In our effort to be attractional and missional with people we think with the “bang” mentality of making a big splash so people will want to come back to whatever we are doing next.  We think we have to do something exciting and flashy for people to respond to us and the gospel.  When we get into this mindset of always having to one up the last event or game, we can lose focus on what is most important…thus complicating ministry.

But what if, instead of focusing on the “bang”, we focus on love.  After all, Christ did say that we need to love God and love others above all other things (Mark 12:30-31).

Look at countless youth ministries who started with very few and grew their program.  A friend of mine, Brian Mason is one of them.  What did he do when he was a Youth Leader?  Out of his love for God, he loved kids and his program grew and lives were being changed.  He didn’t have a big budget to do the big events.  He just had love of God and love of others (kids).  We need to keep it Simple!

“But Tom!  Jesus did some big bang things!  He walked on water, healed a ton of people and did other crazy miracles.  We need to do the big “bang” events.”

I agree, “bang” events are great and can be wonderful. However, if we put too much of our time and energy on the “bang” and not on love, will anyone come back to our next event?  We need to love first, then the other things can fall into place.  We need to keep it Simple!

I know this isn’t anything earth shattering here but again, after my vacation at the beach, I realized that simple can be better, especially when it comes down to simply loving kids as Christ would have us do.

What do you think?  Is simple really better?  How have you seen this true or not true?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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