the weblog of Alan Knox

Guest Blogger: Simple Church (TM)

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 in discipleship, elders, gathering, guest blogger | 16 comments

Guest Blogger: Simple Church (TM)

Last year, I invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.

(While I may continue to invite people to write guest posts, I would be willing to publish *almost* any post related to the church. If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)

Today’s post was written by Joe (JR) Miller. J.R. Miller is a former church planter and now professor living in San Diego, California with his wife and three sons. He is an author and avid blogger. You can reach him at either or


“Simple Church ™”

Inspired by my friend Alan’s post “Just Make Disciples ™“, I am convinced that church is meant to be simple. All the institutional stuff has really hurt our Faith. Here is my new motto:

Church–So Simple That Anyone Who Follows Me Can Do It!


Why do we hold men above Christ?

Seminary trained pastors set themselves up as experts by writing books that teach us all kind of pagan things about leadership and community when all we truly need is the Bible. I am so convinced that the Bible is ALL we need, that I am commissioning a team of writers with no seminary training and who have never lead anything to write a book that everyone should read. This team of experts (with names you are sure to recognize) well give everyone all they need to know about how not to be a leader and how to avoid training so you can start a Simple Church. Oh, and we will have a magazine too!!

Why do we need all those conferences for “professional” clergy?

Those conferences are corrupting the church and taking away the priesthood of all believers. To counter this spiritual-tragedy, I would like to invite everyone to a new conference starting next year. The conference will be titled, “No More Conferences“. We will feature worship bands (unprofessionally led of course) and lecturers who will teach us how sermons are bad because they feature just one guy talking with everyone in chairs facing forward. Our conference will be held in a theatre where everyone will have nice chairs facing the stage so they can enjoy our featured experts. Come to the conference and you will get trained by our totally uneducated and fully untrained experts on how to be a Simple Church leader.

Why do we make paid preaching/teaching the center of our faith?

I think it is terrible that we listen to sermons and download them and sell them when the Gospel should be free. If you want to learn more, check back tomorrow and I will have a recorded talk you can download for a small fee or you can always order the CD. The Apostle Paul never sold his letters to the church and next year I will also have a new copyrighted book out on Amazon that will tell you all about it for just $9.99. These teachings will explain how we are destroying the church by trusting preachers who sell stuff all the time. (BTW, since I am not a paid preacher, I am allowed by the New Testament to sell this stuff… besides, my motives are pure unlike those other guys.)

Why have we made it so difficult to be the Spirit-led Church?

Men have put themselves out as leaders and make us think that unless we read what they write, we cannot be a valid church. That is just not how God works. So I am announcing the launch of a new blog that will feature all my books and all my recorded messages from conferences and weekly posts. My site will teach you how not to follow after the teachings of men. Trust only the Holy Spirit and follow me.

Why do we follow denominations?

Simple church will be all about rejecting denominations and seeing everyone as our brother and sister in Christ. To help you figure out which churches are truly simple, and not heretical like those institutional ones, we will set up a network of Simple Churches. We will have memberships and everything and promote our approved network of churches from our website.

Why do we meet in big buildings?

Anyone who reads the New Testament, or church history, knows that aside from meeting in public buildings or in Synagogues or caves, the church only ever met in homes. If your church is meeting anywhere but a house, you are corrupting God’s simple church because the house is God’s designated place for church meetings. A house is the only place that does not restrict the moving of the Spirit and A house is the only place where people won’t get corrupted by all the bad stuff. (You will learn more about this at next years’ big conference)

Church is Simple and anyone can do it!! So keep reading. listening, conferencing, networking, meeting in homes and downloading my stuff and I will teach you all the things you need to know about how to keep church simple and avoid the institution.

Oh, and don’t forget, if you don’t read all my stuff and listen to all my messages and go to my conferences, you will never know what stuff is forbidden by the New Testament and you will never be free from all the institutional stuff that holds you back.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-13-2012

    Here’s an interesting perspective on Holy Spirit led discipleship and meetings.

  2. 2-13-2012

    Joe-You have a real gift for discerning hypocrisy and I am not saying this in a sarcastic way because I can see it too. The Simple Church Movement is as vulnerable as any other movement of falling into the George Orwell Animal Farm scenario. I hope you are using this talent to help create more pure expressions of Christian community rather than an excuse to stay in the status quo of institutional Christianity.

    One of the main reasons I have been reading Alan’s blog over the last 3 years more regularly than any of the other church related blogs is because, although I don’t know him personally,I really do sense a spirit of humility in his writings. He advocates many of the truths acknowledged in the bold print above without falling into the hypocrisies noted in the small print. He is able to be honest with scripture without condemning those who are not seeing from the same perspective in the journey. If more men expressing the character of Jesus can walk in these paths in the local communities rather than the spotlight of national movements I believe Christ’s kingdom will expand like never before!

  3. 2-13-2012


    I’d love to hear more explanation…


    Thanks for the kind words. I truly appreciate Joe and his post. It’s a good reminder! 🙂


  4. 2-13-2012

    Hi Rod,

    I appreciate the same things about Alan.

    Regarding my post, it is really supposed to be the flip side of Alan’s post I link to in my introduction. Two sides of the same coin and hopefully we can all exchange ideas in humility.


  5. 2-13-2012

    We are by nature sheep – so whether we are in a ‘simple’ church, a ‘traditional’ church, or just an ‘internet’ church, we naturally gravitate to follow a shepherd – someone who will shepherd us.

    Yes, a good reminder there is one Shepherd over all of His sheep, and we need to keep our eyes up there no matter what…

  6. 2-14-2012


    Thanks for letting me publish this post! I really do appreciate the content and your heart for the church. 🙂


    Exactly! It is so easy to encourage people to keep their eyes on us… even when that is not our intention.


  7. 2-14-2012
  8. 2-14-2012

    Drewe, right on brother!

  9. 2-14-2012

    Yes, as unbelievers we are all like sheep, everyone going his own way. As a new creation we are a different kind of sheep, capable of growing up to be a shepherd. “Anyone who desires the work of an overseer (shepherd) desires a noble task. 1 Tim. 3 Anyone who makes disciples is a shepherd. Matt. 28. We are designed to grow into the full stature of Christ Eph. 4- which is a shepherd. If you have only been to an institutionalized church, you can probably see that maybe only 5% or less are growing beyond baby or sheep status. They think they will need a professionally prepared Bible lecture every week of their lives till the day they die. This is driven by the system, not God’s Word.

    Simple church is a system that acknowledges God’s goals of full reproduction by the leaders – everyone “speaking the truth in love so that in all things you might grow to the full stature of Christ”.

    There are huge differences between cathedral church, internet church and simple church.

  10. 2-15-2012


    Yes, there are huge differences, especially at the extreme ends of the traditional, institutional vs. simple, organic church spectrum. There are also some similarities. The primary similarity is that each group is made of people, thus no group is perfect, even those who have a more organic understanding of the church. So, a reminder – like this one from Joe – to make sure we are pointing people to Jesus and not to ourselves is a good one.


  11. 2-15-2012

    Of course there are similarities, and very few at that, but that is no reason to suggest that it doesn’t matter which system we are in, we are destined either way to following a shepherd (a human one). God has allowed bogus systems to interrupt His design for us in following the chief shepherd. This allowing is certainly not pandering since there are tragic loss of reward issues and faithfulness issues at stake. I was sensing some vibes on the line of the system doesn’t matter.

  12. 2-15-2012


    Anything can become a system in and of itself… even “simple church” or “organic church.” I understand that is not what you are talking about. But, most people who are part of more traditional, institutional church would disagree with the “system” concerns as well. We should all seek to relate to Christ and to one another… if the “system” gets in the way – whatever that “system” happens to be – then we need to be willing to change.


  13. 3-1-2012

    Alan – One very important point that seems to be missing in all of this discussion is a recognition of and obedience to the role and workings of the Holy Spirit to comfort each of us and to lead each of us into all truth. I believe that I was led by the Holy Spirit into simple home churching over 30 years ago in my search for Scriptural purity in a church.

    While so engaged, I believe that I have seen the Holy Spirit move in ways that are just not going to happen at any pulpit and pew church meeting. Consequently, in all of that time I have never felt led by Him to leave the purity of simple home churching for any other kind of churching (except for some add-on internet fellowshipping). I believe that home churches are the most comforting churches and that when carried on according to the correct interpretation of I Corinthians 11 through 14, they can be the most pure churching.

    James 3:17 – But the wisdom from above is first pure….

    I have some very interesting testimonies of my many experiences in home fellowshipping but they can be rather long and might not fit in this comment section. So how may I get them to you and your readers Alan?

  14. 3-1-2012


    I’ve found that people on all sides (not just both sides) of the simple/traditional/whatever church issues say that they are following the Holy Spirit.


  15. 3-1-2012

    Yes they do and probably they are following the leading of the Holy Spirit as He leads them into brighter and brighter light for their lives. My testimony above is about my own wondrous experiences in home fellowship under the Holy Spirit’s comforting guidance. IMHO, His guidance is what should be emphasized when suggesting to people where and how they should be churched.

    The simple home church is not for everyone for many reasons which I don’t feel led to go into here. But for those like myself, whom He has guided into simple home churching, it is the only form of churching for which He will give us grace. For those who feel that He has led them to other forms of churching, I believe that those forms too will be the only form of churching for which they will have grace. But for those who don’t rely upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the matter, no real church style grace will be found until they do.

    I feel that in the comments above the Holy Spirit’s role as being the leader who guides us into a particular church style which is best for us is not mentioned and His ministry is the point that I feel that God wanted me to make here.

    Romans 8:14 – For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

  16. 3-2-2012


    I understand what you’re saying. However, I do not think that a lack of mentioning the Holy Spirit’s role in a short blog post or even a comment thread is an indication that someone does not rely on the Holy Spirit. There are even a few books of the New Testament that do not mention the Holy Spirit.

    That said, however, I think it is a good reminder that we DO rely on the Holy Spirit, and we should constantly and consistently remind each other of that.