Thinking Out Loud

January 23, 2010

Francis Chan: If Jesus Had a Church Here, Mine Would Be Bigger

Last summer I came to a shocking realization that I had to share with my wife: If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment. I know better how to cater to people’s desires so they stick around. Jesus was never really good at that. He was the one who said, “He who loves father or mother … son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. 10:37 NIV) I’m much more popular than Jesus.

Wow!   This isn’t Francis Chan on some Beatlesque “more popular than Jesus” trip.  It’s an honest look at how we choose a church.   If the people are too fanatical, we dismiss it as cultic and move on.

I remember the first time I attended a church where — right in the middle of each service — they would ask for prayer requests and then break into groups of three or four to pray together for anything from five to ten minutes.   The first time, this was difficult for me.   But I knew I had found a church that would challenge me to the core of my being.

I stayed there two years, and only left because it was too extreme for a girl that I wanted to date.  (Yes, I know; we could debate the wisdom of this…)  Some of the people whom I invited to join me for a service there couldn’t handle more than a single week visit.

We want to commit, at least minimally.  We just don’t always want to be totally sold out.  We don’t want to get in too deep.  We don’t want to be one of those people.

To leaders, Francis Chan goes on to say:

Rarely is there a pastor whose character exceeds his reputation. If I were to ask those closest to you about your relationship with God, what would they say? If I were to ask God the same question, what would He say? If your family, friends, and congregation have better things to say about you than God, it’s because you give them that impression. We do this because we can. God gifted us with an ability to communicate. Too often we use this ability not to convey who we are, but who we want others to think we are.  (italics added)

You can read the whole article, “Public Passion vs. Private Devotion” in context on Catalyst.   (HT: Zach)

Francis Chan is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California and the author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God. DVD curriculum is available for both titles.   His third book Fear God releases in July.

About the Blogroll:

This blog has a rather interesting link list in the sidebar.    Blogs mentioned are chosen because they are (a) faith focused and (b) posting regularly.   The doctrinal flavor of the blogs listed is quite varied, but I don’t include blogs that appear to have more “agenda” than content.   Some blogs are listed somewhat permanently, some disappear and return a month later.   Together, they represent almost one third of the bloggers that I have bookmarked in my computer and read regularly.   Some of the blogs appearing in the Wednesday link list end up on this page later on, while others have a key post that I feel is worth mentioning, while at the same time I’m not sure I want to establish them as a link or imply endorsement.  Recommendations are invited.

3 Comments »

  1. Wow… amazing thoughts

    Comment by dave carrol — January 23, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

  2. this article messed me up, too, paul. if you haven’t seen it, you can see chan’s sermon at catalyst (with this quote) on you tube.

    by the way, i am always honored (and a little surprised) to find myself in your blogroll. thank you.

    Comment by randy morgan — January 24, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

  3. Thanks for sharing that. I am constantly blessed by Chan’s faithful preaching of the (even better blessing…) God’s Word. I haven’t heard that sermon yet as we’re a few weeks behind on the podcast. it is good to find good stuff via google! :) Thanks!

    Comment by Caroline@carolinecollie — January 31, 2010 @ 2:44 pm


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