For the past several weeks I’ve been working my way through Francis Chan’s latest book Letters To The Church. In it, Chan challenges stereotypes of the American church, calling for a group of Christians more in tune with Biblical priorities than consumer Christianity. None of this is new, as Christian thinker’s have been bemoaning the state of the attraction-growth model Christianity for years. But what Chan does add to this conversation is a fresh, or perhaps an ancient, appreciation of the Biblical emphasis on priorities that while not ground-breaking, is a timely reminder all wrapped up in just over 200 easy to read pages.
I highly recommend reading this book, partly because it does not simply deconstruct the church as is, but replaces current practice with simple suggestions that are both practical and Biblical.
The following are some excerpts that I found convicting:
“My fellow elders and I repented…(when) we realized that there were many in our congregation we didn’t expect much of. We decided to find the most overlook in our congregation to remind them of biblical truth and tell them how badly we needed them…Are we not overvaluing the rich, beautiful, the talented just as the world does.”
“If Muslims were advertising free doughnuts and a raffle for a free iPad’s as a means to get people in their events, I would find that ridiculous. It would be proof to me that their god does not answer prayer. If they needed a rock concert and funny speakers to draw crowds, I would see them desperate and their god as cheap and weak.”
“This is a common scenario in churches. Prayer, Communion, fellowship, and Bible reading don’t attract large crowds. So we start adding elements that will attract people. We accomplish a goal, but it is the wrong goal. There comes a point when so many additions are made that you can no longer call it a church.”