In 2010, popular pastor, author and speaker Francis Chan did what many considered to be as crazy as the love he had famously written about. He left a large, successful church to pursue something unformed and unfunded in San Francisco.
There has always been something of the radical prophet in Chan’s actions and words, but here it was writ large—following Jesus costs you everything, and doesn’t make sense in the ways of the world. In fact, the sometimes obsession with business model strategy in large church organizations is part of the problem that Chan observed and needed to move away from.
Francis Chan is a disciple, first. Anyone hearing this message, recorded live at Foursquare Connection 2014 in Dallas, gets that the first thing on his mind is being in relationship with God, and then bringing more people into relationship with God through Christ. During this hour-long Multiply Track, Chan reveals questions and concerns with the ways discipleship has often been approached, and conveys the hope he has in a simpler, whole-church model of discipleship.
Whether it is bringing newly released convicts into his home as a brother in Christ, or operating a new church plant out in a field (until the city shuts it down), Chan can sometimes shock us out of our comfort zones, but it is never about shock value. He operates from deep convictions that we are meant to be fruit-bearing, Jesus-loving, disciple-making followers of Christ and anything short of that is not just mundane—it’s a profound failure. To that end, all of our resources, be they personal or congregational, should be stewarded with the mission in mind.
Francis Chan reveals questions and concerns with the ways discipleship has often been approached, and conveys the hope he has in a simpler, whole-church model of discipleship.
During his “Multiply: Disciples” session, he uses many stories and anecdotes to make his points, comparing the realities of the Western church to those of the churches growing in Eastern nations. Are we making unnecessary things mandatory in our churches, and quenching the opportunities to serve and love the least of those in our communities? Are we, in our efforts to sustain the “program” of church, finding ourselves in bondage to a financial system that we cannot sustain? In taking care of systems, have we lost sight of the people we serve?
These have been real, hard questions that Foursquare has been asking and answering during the Reimagine process. It is through this reforming around our mission of making disciples that we become positioned for growth and life. And, as Chan affirms, as we give ourselves away and follow in the path of Jesus, we’ll find more joy, satisfaction and delight in making disciples than making anything else.
Those who need to hear more on the costs and rewards of making discipleship the priority of ministry should listen to the full session. Through humor, narrative, vulnerability and prophetic hope, Chan is a brilliant guide in seeing things afresh, and revealing what must change, and what the future of disciple-making could look like.
To see more about Connection 2014, click here.