Tom Mercer,

A lot of us have noticed that most Christians are attending church less often and most local churches are engaging the Great Commission too seldom. Maybe you have too.

That’s why I’ve dedicated this phase of my life to help people slim down. The average Christian is over-worked, over-committed and over-scheduled…and that’s before they even get to church. 

The average local church is over-programmed, over-scheduled and over-extended…and that’s before they even get to the Great Commission! 

When a church start-up launches their ministry, a small group of believers are passionate about the Gospel and focused on their mission. Resource-deprived and staff-slim, the pastor of a new church is forced to facilitate a very simple and focused mission. As those same pastors reflect years later, they almost always tell you that it was during those early years that they enjoyed ministry the most. 

When money becomes more available, programming options increase—and then something horrible happens. We begin a dangerous trajectory toward distraction and a consequential complexity.

You don’t even have to lift a finger to gain weight—fat happens! But you have to work really hard to get back into shape, which is why most people don’t. Likewise, you don’t have to do anything to make church ministry more complicated—it happens on its own. But you have to work really hard to simplify a complicated system, and then work even harder to keep it that way, which is why most pastors don’t.

If you’re typical, I could probably describe your own family with a similar scenario…I’d just replace the word “pastor” with “parent” and the word “church” with “family.”

Same dynamic. Same problem. And same solution.


After six decades, I’ve observed the perils of complexity—both personal and pastoral. I’ve also noticed that the things in both arenas that matter most usually are the simplest.

I have been married to my seraphic (go ahead and look that word up) wife Sheryl for forty years, and we’ve been blessed with three married children, who have in turn blessed us with the greatest core oikos imaginable—ten grandchildren.

I received my formal education at Biola University and Talbot Seminary. I’ve been the Senior Pastor and primary teacher at the High Desert Church in Victorville, California since 1984. During that time, HDC has grown from 125 regular participants to over 14,000; from one campus to four.

I am the author of two books, 8 to 15: The World is Smaller Than You Think and the recently released Not My Church. These books highlight the oikos principle, which I believe is the simplest and most effective form of Kingdom growth that Jesus gave us.

If you are ready to embrace simplicity as a core value, in both your personal life and church ministry, then you’ve come to the right place!                      

If you’d like to discuss my availability to speak at your church or conference, simply email me at

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