BELLS – Simple Church Models

BELLS is a good attempt, nay, a magnificent attempt, from my colleagues at DAWN Ministries North America, to walk thru the concept of Simple Church.

B is for Blessing
E is for Eating
L is for Listening
L is for Learning
S is for Signs and Wonders

The conclusion sums it up. I like BELLS. I love seeing “Eating” get some credit like it deserves. Dangitt! Eating together should be on everyone’s list of church essentials. BELLS rocks!
Although i would re:mix it a little for my audience, avoiding the “signs and wonders” label for the sake of my Fundy Friends, (Al Mohler – are you out there?) and i would explain that “simple” is a necessary ingredient of organizational structure in a “complex” environment. This is essential to emergent theory and the two concepts of simplicity and complexity need to be held together in unison rather than in opposition.
My acronym, if indeed i was given to acronymizing, would look like this . . .

B is for Bless (all the families of the earth – Gen 12, our mission)
L is for Listening (prayerful research, feedback, learning posture of pilgrim, listening to Word of God)
E is for Eating (meals in homes, with unbelievers also, do this in remembrance . . )
S is for Signs (of God’s favor, presence, guidance, answers, miracles)
S is for Story – (interpretation of God’s signs, narrative evangelism, worship, teaching)

This is the part where you jump on the comments section and yell at me for being lame enough to use reductionist acronyms. And then I jump on right after you and say . . ” Oh yeah? Well, GET OVER IT!”


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Arlen Hanson says:

    I think your twwak of BLESS is better, not because I’m a “fundy” that has a problem with signs and wonders, but because I think “Story” is vitally important to us and something that we (well, evangelicals at least) have neglected until very recently. Thanks for this post. Peace. Arlen PS Been reading your blog now for a few months but I think this is the first time I’ve commented. Thanks for all the great stuff you keep us informed about.

  • Arlen Hanson says:

    uhhhh, that was supposed to be “tweak” of BLESS, not “twwak”. Tweaks are ok, but I hate twwaks. 😉

  • tk says:

    Hey…at least it wasn’t an alliteration, which in my mind occupies the lowest rung of literary

  • andrew says:

    i have felt exactly that way about alliteration for about 15 years. Which is why I suspect it will make a big comeback very soon.
    Its comeback, no doubt, will be :
    * unexpected
    * unexplainable
    * unexplicable
    * unexact
    * unnacceptable to cultural elitistic snobs
    (like you and me)

  • Brian says:


  • tony sheng says:

    Hey Andrew thanks for the post… I actually like both… haha… but the whole signs and wonders thing – i’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, and recently a friend had me read _Power Evangelism_ by Wimber… that didn’t help….
    Anyway, thanks for the post about BELLS and BLESS… they are both pretty rad!

  • Andrew Jones says:

    Thanks Tony. Yes – both are rad!
    And Brian, you have a point, but . . .
    Treasures of
    so GET OVER IT!

  • Dan says:

    Our friend Al Mohler needs a blog. This would then be the way to put the real SBTS back on the map. Ugh!!! I remember when I was a Southern Seminary Student we had problems with big rats at Seminary Village. No one believe us, then someone put one of the BIG RATS on Duke McCall’s porch. Amazing the results one gets.—-I like the bells analogy.

  • Alan Cross says:

    Al Mohler does have a blog, believe it or not! He uses it to write commentaries on everything, like a newspaper editorial. It is:
    I like the BLESS acronym. I too wish we would get over ourselves and not be tied to anyone one form, but use what helps us. Now if you start using them all the time with three points and a poem every post, well that’s another issue.
    Question: Can you elaborate more on the complexity/simplicity issue regarding emerging forms, or point me in a direction to learn more about it. That was really helpful.

  • andrew jones says:

    thanks alan.
    I just checked out Al’s website and his stats. Today he has almost as many hits as I had. Good on him!
    Now how do we get him to allow comments on his site?
    Complexity and Simplicity. Ahhhh ,,, yeah . . another time. i will try and blog something about it soon. Plz remind me if i dont.
    Must go . . ..

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