One of the greatest things about the conference so far is hearing from people who are seriously re-thinking the way we do church. I’ll try to share some of their thoughts when I have more time to think through what they’re rethinking, but for now, this tidbit . . .
Francis Chan is pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. He said he’s starting to read the Bible literally, especially passages like “love your neighbor as yourself.” He explained that his church has always tried to love their neighbor, but not necessarily in the same way they love themselves. Case in point . . . the church is preparing to build a new $20 million dollar campus and they’ve never spent that much on their neighbors. So he’s challenging them to scrap the plans and spend the $20 million on ministries outside of their church.
Where will they meet? He’s proposing a huge outdoor amphitheater. He admitted that he’s still trying to sell the elders on the concept, but they’re leaning that way. The biggest concern so far . . . what if is rains?! His answer, “then you’ll get wet.” He offered this analogy. On Sundays in Green Bay 72,000 fans pack a stadium for more than 4 hours in the freezing cold and near blizzards. Why? They’re crazy about the Green Bay Packers. Do you think that people who are crazy about Jesus could stand one hour each Sunday in the Southern California sun?
I like his thinking because it challenges me to think. And I like the idea of spending more money on others and less on ourselves. It seems like something Jesus would do. However, I get frustrated when I try to apply his idea across the board. For example, he was encouraging us not to spend our money on buildings and give it to others. Couldn’t the same argument be made for not spending our money on conferences? Of course if we’d have done that, then none of us would have ever been challenged to do the other. I think I’ll stop thinking now.