I believe God is leading a movement in this country toward simple, smaller gatherings, and I long to see this movement gain greater traction. I get so excited when I dream about the Church spreading in small, invigorating expressions that look and feel like the early church. My goal is to get you dreaming about this as well.

Recently the president of a well-known missions agency was sharing his concerns about the current state of missions. His burden was that we have been sticking to our old methods even though the unreached world has changed. Why are we still training missionaries to build churches when most of the unreached live in countries where it is illegal to plant a church? He shared about the desperate need for Christians to have an impact on closed countries. The only way this can happen is if we expand our narrow church experience. Our parameters for church expression must revert back to what is biblical rather than sticking to what is normal at this cultural moment. If we continue to promote a model where people flood to a church building to congregate around a preacher, how do we expect to reach the billions of people who live where that model is illegal?

If our missionaries have to reject everything we’ve ever taught them about Church in order to reach another country, are we confident what we’re doing here is best? Whether or not you believe smaller gatherings are the best method of church planting in the States, pretty much everyone agrees it’s the only way to plant churches in many countries. But how do we expect to successfully send people to plant churches if their only experience is the traditional model?

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