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Francis Chan: We Need a New Approach to the American Church

Are we doing church wrong in America?

That’s the question Francis Chan asks in this brief video.

Chan says the Bible defines the church in four ways:

  1. Love
  2. Evangelism
  3. Communion
  4. Equipping

But he says sadly, it is rare to find an American church that fits that description.  Chan suggests some experimentation to find our way back to a biblical understanding of church.

In fact, he recommends turning our assumptions upside down.  Instead of starting a church by looking for a pastor, a building, a music minister, etc.,  Chan would start with followers of Jesus who love one another.

Then he would apply four principles.

First, the church would meet in homes–not a formal church building. Chan says that would allow the members to get to know and love each other without the distractions of salaries and mortgages.

Second, after one year the church would split into two.  He admits this would be uncomfortable for a group that has gotten to know and love each other but he says this model prevents the goals of evangelism and mission from being overlooked in favor of comfort and preference.

Third, the group would commit to reading through the Bible in one year. Rather than listening to a sermon from a pastor each Sunday morning, the church would discuss what they’ve read with several members sharing and teaching what they’ve learned.  There would also be an emphasis on prayer and meeting needs.

Fourth, the church would be committed to training leaders.  When the church splits after a year, a new leader is needed to shepherd the new group.

Chan isn’t saying this is the only way church should be done but he says this plan follows the biblical model.  He says it also closely aligns with what’s happening in China where it’s estimated that 100 million believers have responded to the gospel from the efforts of the house church movement.

Interesting suggestions that will make many uncomfortable, but hasn’t that always been true of Christianity?