- (Photo: Flannel)
Church today has become predictable, says bestselling author and influential preacher Francis Chan.
"You go to a building, someone gives you a bulletin, you sit in a chair, you sing a few songs, a guy delivers maybe a polished message, maybe not, someone sings a solo, you go home," Chan says in his latest "BASIC" video.
The Crazy Love author is concerned about the big disconnect between what the church looks like today and what it looked like 2,000 years ago.
"When you read the New Testament, you see the Holy Spirit was supposed to change everything so that this gathering of people who call themselves Christians had this supernatural element about them," Chan explains in the video series, produced by Flannel. His talk on the Holy Spirit premiered recently on RelevantMagazine.com.
It was the Holy Spirit, which came down after Jesus ascended to heaven, that empowered Christians thousands of years ago. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, people began speaking in different languages, people were being healed, and believers had a supernatural love for one another.
The fire that came down from heaven, that rush of wind, however, seems to have disappeared, Chan points out.
"Do you really see this supernatural power at work when the believers gather together for what we call church?" he asks. "Isn't it the same Holy Spirit that's supposed to be available to us today? Why is it so different?"
Chan's frustrations with the church today are what inspired the "BASIC" series. He was successfully leading a megachurch in Simi Valley, Calif., when he began to question and rethink "how we do church." He began feeling uncomfortable with people driving long distances just to hear him speak every weekend and with church having become a once-a-week routine.
After 16 years at Cornerstone Church, he let go of the reins in 2010 and traveled to Asia where he and his family spent time with persecuted Christians and orphans.
He has yet to announce his next ministry move but an update on his blog revealed that he is currently residing in San Francisco. "I am working on some projects that I believe can help the overall health of the church in America," he wrote earlier this year.
Chan filmed a seven-part short film series with Flannel that is aimed at challenging Christians to be the church that is illustrated in Scripture. The videos are being slowly released and the Holy Spirit installment is the third and latest one in the series being made available.
In it, Chan observes what church looks like today and what it's supposed to look like, according to the Bible.
"I heard one person say the church nowadays is neither super nor natural," he says. "Everything is predictable and everything is expected."
"There's a truth to that," he admits. "I feel bad about it. Being around a church culture, even leading a gathering of believers, I've gotten pretty good at predicting what's going to happen in a church service. Was that the way it was supposed to happen?"
"When Jesus said this power (of the Holy Spirit) would come upon you, it really did come upon them and they were powerful beings (Jesus' disciples)," Chan points out. "Why is it that in the church so many people are weak or defeated or we get so insecure because we look at ourselves rather than God? It doesn't make sense."
Though Christians believe in an almighty and all powerful God who places His spirit in believers, the response among His people today is: "Hi, welcome to church. Here's your bulletin. We'll get you out in an hour. Come back next week."
"I mean, really? Is that all God intended for us?" Chan challenges.
While pondering whether Christians really believe the Holy Spirit exists today and can work powerfully, he asks one poignant question: "What would the church look like today if we really stopped taking control of it and let the Holy Spirit lead?"
"I believe this is exactly what the world needs to see."
On the Web: http://basicseries.com/