In 2013 I gathered about twenty people at my house. I didn’t have a detailed plan, just a lot of convictions. At our first gathering, I remember saying I wanted us to be focused on pursuing everything I saw in the New Testament. I wanted to see deep familial love and for all of us to be using our gifts. I made it clear that I would not be the pastor forever. Instead, during the six to twelve months I led the church, I would disciple four people and help them become pastors so when our church multiplied into two churches, each church would be led by two of the pastors I had discipled.
We became such a tight family that everyone hated when it came time to multiply, but we understood it was necessary so we could grow and produce more leaders.
We have made many changes over the years, and I anticipate more. While the church will be in constant change, the elders have tried to keep us focused on some core values. Though the wording has changed over time, this is basically what we are striving to produce.
Devoted Worshippers. We want to be people who are committed to worshipping God, people who can’t get enough of Him, not people who worship only when it is convenient or when the right people are leading. It must be the Object of our worship that makes worshipping exciting to us.
Loving Families. We want to be people who love one another deeply and show this by how we sacrifice for one another. Our goal is not merely to get along but to love one another to the extent that Christ loved us and to be united to the extent that the Father is one with the Son.
Equipped Disciple Makers. We want everyone trained up to make disciples. No one should come as a consumer, but we need everyone to come as a servant using his or her gifts to build up the body.
Spirit-Filled Missionaries. We want to be people with supernatural character, who regularly share the gospel with neighbors and coworkers. Some will go to foreign countries to share Christ where He has not been heard. The others will support those who have gone.
Suffering Sojourners. We want to be people who are eagerly waiting for the return of Christ. We are willing and wanting to suffer because we believe in heavenly rewards. Far from seeking comfort, we thrive on hardship, refusing to become citizens of this earth.
This is what we are after as a church. We don’t want to get caught up in anything that will distract us from these things. For this reason, we have a few daily and weekly practices. As I said earlier, structure matters. It’s easy to say these are our values, but unless we structure in weekly practices to achieve these goals and structure out anything that distracts, we will never become the church we want to be.
Francis Chan, Letters to the Church (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2018).
I have just completed a nine-session Bible study based on Francis Chan’s new book, Letters to the Church. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book. Sessions include:
- Chapter 1: The Departure
- Chapter 2: Sacred
- Chapter 3: The Order
- Chapter 4: The Gang
- Chapter 5: Servants
- Chapter 6: Good Shepherds
- Chapter 7: Crucified
- Chapter 8: Unleashed
- Chapter 9: Church Again