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Is Francis Chan’s Model of Church the Future?

Built into this model are mentoring relationships. One gentleman is seen taking another to coffee and having a conversation. Heather Kusunoki goes to a new mother’s house and spends time with the mother and baby.

“It’s a two-way relationship where the mentors are not these holy, spiritual people, but that it can be mutual where we’re growing just as much as they are—maybe in different ways and different things, but we’re still growing,” Kusunoki says of the mentoring relationship.

Members also try to reach the people in their immediate community first. A couple who lives in a high rise building in the heart of San Francisco talks about reaching out to their neighbors, who are mostly “high-tech professionals.” Another family with young children committed to hosting a monthly barbecue for the 20 houses closest to them. They check in on those families surrounding them to see if there are things their family can help with or pray for between the meals.

A Hands-Off Approach

“This fellowship is going on and I’m not pushing it,” Chan says toward the end of the documentary. This is different from the “old model” of church where Chan felt as if “people aren’t going to reach out unless you create a program for them to do it. People aren’t going to fellowship with one another unless you program it…People aren’t going to take communion unless you get it.”

For all intents and purposes, Chan’s model appears to be a hands-off approach where one main leader isn’t deciding what programs to roll out each year and isn’t setting schedules and meeting places for groups.

It all looks ideal, certainly. Perhaps this is the answer to a hundred issues our modern iteration of the church faces: Pastor burnout, lack of motivation to grow among members, lack of discipleship, lack of resources, lack of leaders, lack of outreach, etc. One has to wonder, could this be the future of the church in America?

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Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for churchleaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.