Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Francis Chan : Engaging in Authentic, 24/7 Community

Below is an excerpt form an article entitled Starting Over by Pastor Francis Chan. It is a condensed version of the talk that he gave at the Exponential conference:

View the full article here.

Engaging in Authentic, 24/7 Community:

Starting over would also mean changing how our church viewed and fostered community. If you came off an island after reading Scriptures, and then walked into a local church, what would you expect to see? I would expect to see a group of people boldly loving one another, sharing their possessions with each other, spending time together like a family.

A little over a year ago, we baptized this guy who came out of the gangs. I remember loving his fire and passion. A while later, someone came up to me and said that this guy had stopped coming to Cornerstone and had told him, “I had the wrong vision of church. I thought that when I got baptized and joined the church, it was going to be like when I got jumped into the gang. Immediately, we became family. They had my back 24 hours a day. If I was sleeping in the street, they were sleeping there with me. We didn’t get together just once a week; it was all the time. I guess I just didn’t understand church. It’s like Satan stole God’s playbook, and people are attracted to gangs because they’re doing things biblically—except for the killing part.”

That kills me! It’s so sad that gangs are a better picture of family than the body of Christ. And it just makes me say that it’s not this guy, it’s us—we are the ones who don’t under­stand church.

And I’ve heard the arguments. I know people say that even though it’s biblical, you can’t pull off that kind of bold community in today’s culture. And to that, I ask, Have we for­gotten who the Holy Spirit is? If Jesus could look at 11 people and say, “You’re going to get the message to the whole world without Internet access,” then we can grab 11 people and reach these three or four blocks. It’s the same Holy Spirit. I’ve got to believe that the Holy Spirit still can and will do these amazing things. We’re going through this as a church right now. The leaders of our church are my best friends. I trust them. I know that if I die tonight, these guys will take care of my family. They’ll treat my kids like their own. We’re seeing that type of bond happen. Today’s Church can foster bold and authentic, 24/7 community.