|Cardinals and a snowy window|
Francis Chan knows it is possible for a church to not be a church. The name "church" doesn't mean it is what it says. In Chan's book Letters to the Church he writes,
"If Muslims were advertising free doughnuts and a raffle for a free iPad as a means to get people to their events, I would find that ridiculous. It would be proof to me that their god does not answer prayer.
If they needed rock concerts and funny speakers to draw crowds, I would see them as desperate and their god as cheap and weak.
Understand that I am not judging any church that works hard at getting people through the doors with good motives. I spent years doing the same thing, and I believe my heart was sincere. I wanted people to hear the gospel by any means possible. Praise God for people who have a heart for truth!
I’m just asking you to consider how this looks to a watching world.
While our good intentions may have gotten some people in the door, they also may have caused a whole generation to have a lower view of our God.
It is hard for the average person to reconcile why a group of people supposedly filled with God’s Spirit, able to speak with the Creator of the universe, would need gimmicks.
(Chan, Letters to the Church, pp. 95-96)
Then Chan asks, rhetorically:
"Is there ever a point when a church is no longer a church?... Just because you walk into a building with the word Church painted on a sign doesn’t mean God sees it as an actual church." (Ib., 96)
My two books are:
Praying: Reflections on 40 years of Solitary Conversations with God
Leading the Presence-Driven Church