(Photo: Jesse McKee)
The pastor of a multisite megachurch based in Texas hopes to show Christians what "maturing in Christ" looks like, by way of a recently published book.
Matt Chandler, who is the pastor at the Village Church and president of the Acts 29 Network for church planters, had his latest book To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain released earlier this month.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Chandler explained the reasons for writing the book, that focuses on Paul of Tarsus' Epistle to the Church in Philippi.
"I just kind of felt a burden to lay out and in front of as many people as I could a picture of what maturing in Christ looks like," said Chandler. "I think there are those that think they are mature and aren't and I think there are those that are on the path and feel a bit beat up by how slowly they're moving."
Regarding the focus on the New Testament Book of Philippians, Chandler told CP that there are "multiple appeals in" the letter, especially given how Paul felt about that particular church.
"Paul has an especial affection for the Philippians in that he doesn't critique them as hard as he critiques other churches and so there's a lot in that book about what maturation looks like," said Chandler. "There's not a type of person that becomes a Christian outside of all of us being lost… we can be wealthy and good, or poor and bad, or blue-collar and indifferent and yet the Lord saves and He makes us a people."
Chandler, who has professed hope of abandoning the trendy, has written about Philippians as a way of showing how the epistle and the history of the church can influence modern Christians.
"The short book of Philippians is one of the most quoted in the Bible, yet Paul wrote it not for the popular sound bites, but to paint a picture of a mature Christian faith. While many give their lives to Jesus, few then go on to live a life of truly vibrant faith," reads the book's description on Amazon.
Chandler stressed these concerns he had with "modern evangelicalism" when speaking with CP, including in regards to the Christian life being viewed as too much of a routine or hobby.
"My experience both at the Village and as I have traveled with Acts 29 is that Jesus tends to get bolted on to the rest of life as though it's another relationship to be managed," said Chandler. "And so people will view going to church on Sunday morning or going to a small group or headed to a Bible study much like they would view playing indoor soccer with their buddies."
Chandler added that while "it's a good thing and it's something that makes them feel better", God should be more for these people.
"He's not the Sovereign of their lives, the lenses by which they see the world but rather He's a thing that they do," said Chandler. Paul's message about being a matured Christian on the surface may seem contradictory to Jesus' statements that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are as little children.
When asked by CP about these two expectations, Chandler responded that he saw no contradiction for he believed "maturation is becoming more and more and more childlike."
"I think maturation is becoming more and more and more childlike in regards to trust and faith and belief and putting your hope in who God has said He is and what He said He has accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ," said Chandler.
Chandler also drew from personal examples, telling CP about how he provides for his three children, aged four to ten and how their relationship will change with time.
"As they get older that will change in how it plays out but I am 39 and I still want input from my dad and mom, I still want to have them speak into things," said Chandler. "My parents are believers, but they're wretched sinners. My God is not a sinner in any way and so all the more do I want to trust in Him and lean on Him."
Released Sept. 1 and published by David C. Cook of Colorado Springs, "To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain" is by Matt Chandler with contributions from Jared C. Wilson.