When I first saw this 11 minute video I loved it, and immediately posted it on my wall on Facebook (and I almost never put anything on FB). But the more I thought about it, despite some really good stuff here some things started to bother me about it. Take a look, and then read my comments below.
What it is
This video is part of a new web site (www.wearechurch.com) that is evidently part of a new ministry Frances Chan is starting. The basic values are:
1) Family – meet in homes, multiply in one year
2) Gathering – for prayer, Bible Teaching, Communion and fellowship
3) Mission – we exist to make disciples
4) Training – preparing new leaders so that we can divide into two groups within a year.
What I love
I love the basic values. I love the commitment to the church as family and loving one another, to mission, to making disciples and to simple church forms that can be multiplied. I love the commitment to meet in homes rather than divert attention to putting up buildings. I also love the name. The church is not something we go to, it is who we are.
1. His desire to multiply is wonderful, but forcing a division within one year is a terrible way to do it. Why?
A) It works against the goal of the church being a family. If you tell people in advance that they are going to split up in a year or less whether they like it or not, are they going to be motivated to go deep in relationship? If you marry a girl and tell her, “This is temporary, in one year I’m going to divorce you“, is she going to give herself to you with unreserved love? Probably not.
B) It isn’t biblical. You don’t see Paul insisting that churches must multiply within a year. The forced nature of it is neither attractive nor Biblical
C) There are better ways to reach the multiplication goal. You can train people to reach others through simple forms of evangelism (Bible Storying for instance, which I’ll write about tomorrow) that will lead to natural birthing of new small groups and house churches.
2. I question the wisdom of reading through the Bible together in a year. Why?
A) I’ve done it several times myself, and I find that it forces me to move too quickly through the text and I’m more focused on keeping up with the schedule than letting the truth of the word sink in. Now I take a book of the Bible and read it over and over again in different translations. Right now I’m doing that with the book of James. I get something new for my soul every time I re-read it and the structure and flow of the book and the passion of the author becomes clearer to me as I re-read it 5, 10, or 15 times in a row. The bottom line is, I just get more out of scripture this way than the through the Bible in a year program.
B) There is no built in mechanism to make sure the word is applied to life, as there is in the bible Storying approach. The great commission calls us to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Not teach them knowledge, but teach them to obey. How do we teach them to obey?
C) The key is to get everyone to share what they are learning with friends, family, and coworkers every week if we want to reach the lost. Bible Storying lends itself to that quite naturally. Reading through the Bible in a year much less so.
I’ll discuss in detail the Bible storying approach tomorrow in greater detail.