Newsletter 21st November

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
— Albert Einstein

I was chatting with someone this week who is a tireless volunteer and support to Harbour Churches. In our conversation it became clear that for this key and committed person, much that I think is clear about church life is NOT clear. Our weekly ‘Newsletter’ was just one of the things that wasn’t clear… “Too long, too much fluff – just give me the detail: What, when, where, how and, if you must, why”.

Good communication = clarity.  Over the last few months, I’ve been working with a group who have real skills in communication. We want to see how all our church communication – internal and external – can be as good as it can and make best use of all the resources available to us including website, social media etc.

There’s an irony in all of this for the church. We are in the message business – ‘We have a Gospel to proclaim, good news….’ Good communication = good mission.

I guess you’ll have come across the concept KISS. John Maeda,  computer scientist, artist and on staff at MIT, wrote a book entitled The Laws of Simplicity, which explores the question ‘What’s the best way to keep things simple?’

The Kiss Principle (“Keep it simple stupid”) is an old design idea from the US Navy. But how do you make things simple if they’re already complex – like contemporary church life?!? The easiest way is to reduce functionality — to do less. But then you become less effective. Maeda says, ‘You need to cut, but you want to keep the value..’

Like many gurus of how to work smarter not harder, not everything Maeda says makes immediate sense. For example, he says “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.” And…

However, I loved what he said about blank space – read on:

The opportunity lost by increasing the amount of blank space is gained back with enhanced attention on what remains. More white space means that less information is presented. In turn, proportionately more attention shall be paid to that which is made less available. When there is less, we appreciate everything much more.’

OK – so less can be more. Well, in this newsletter we will be writing less in the hope that, together, we can all be doing more of the things that are ‘Good news.’

Jesus said something that I feel, more and more, we are feeling less and less as the church:

‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matt 11.30

So, here’s to keeping it simpler, easier and lighter!

Prayers and blessings