Parker and Jessi Green started feeling what they described as a Holy Spirit restlessness amid full-time ministry in New York City. Despite being well-compensated and “successful” by several measures, something was amiss and the couple could not ignore how God was tugging at their hearts.
For the past four years, the Greens have been active with SALT churches, a network of micro churches they started in the region of Southern California. Earlier this year, they led Saturate OC, worship on the beach evangelistic outreach.
If you ask Parker, a micro church is around 10 to 40 people reaching those who do not yet know Jesus, making disciples, and most importantly, are on mission together. That “being on mission” aspect distinguishes it from previous home-based church movements.
“Doing what Jesus is doing [in realtime], I find, is super helpful,” he said, chuckling lightly, in a recent interview with The Christian Post. Jessi added: “We definitely think that this is the trajectory that the Church is going to move in and it’s funny because I think especially because of social media we’re so afraid to almost innovate when it comes to church because we don’t want to appear like we’re bashing or against the current thing.”
“But if you look at church history, what we see right now is how many people would define ‘church’ is actually pretty new as of the last 100 years. What we see now as almost untouchable when it comes to church and how it’s done, most of the world would not define that as church at all.” And distinctly missional micro churches are actually closer to what is seen in the pages of Scripture, they maintained. The “traditional” model that has become the norm for many in the Western world is not as normal as many think.
As many of you know, I have said for many years that the church in the “last days” before Jesus returns will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. God is refining His church with tribulation which will only escalate as prophesied “birth pangs” increase. Francis Chan was the first pastor of a major church that I saw God challenge to walk away from the mega-church model. It has been wonderful to follow his walk since, Home Groups in the USA, then to Hong Kong and ministering to the unreached in places such as Myanmar (Burma). Moreover in Myanmar, for the first time, he has walked in the power of the Holy Spirit with healings and miracles.
Another life changing message from Francis Chan about how Scripture needs to change our lives. He explains how it has and is changing his own life. Francis is now ministering in places such as Myanmar to the poorest of the poor and he and his family are happier now than they have ever been. For most of his ministry Francis says, he did not believe in the supernatural, that has changed dramatically now as he ministers in places where they have never heard the Gospel before. Now! everyone he touches are healed. The power of God is evident as he goes where God leads. Is it any wonder why Francis is happier now than he has ever been.
Although 61% of American millennials consider themselves to be Christian, just 2% of them were found to hold a biblical worldview, according to a recent study released by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
A biblical worldview, as previously defined by Barna, includes believing that absolute moral truths exist, and that such truth is defined by the Bible, as well as firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views are that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Considering the American Worldview Inventory 2020 study found that only 6% of American adults, in general, hold a biblical worldview, the fact millennials (18- to 36-year-olds) were at 2% is not surprising. Moreover, it helps to explain the degree of lawlessness erupting across the country.
Even a rudimentary understanding of the foundations of the American republic reminds us that unless the United States maintains spiritual unity under the hand of God, it will not be able to sustain the freedoms that have made the nation unique and desirable. The heart and soul of the nation pursue other gods and beliefs to its detriment as a nation.
The existing church has not been able to stop the decline that has been evident over the last decade, the war is over and an escalation of persecution of believers is a forgone conclusion. As could be expected, God is raising up His church as described in the Book of Acts. Holy Spirit led leaders such as Francis Chan understood the call of God in this regard. For the past nine years, his family has been in San Francisco, where they started “We Are Church,” which has grown to 25 pastors. No buildings or paid pastors.
Francis is now in Hong Kong reaching out to the unsaved in countries such as Myanmar (Burma) and is seeing God work miracles as he never saw in his church of 5000 in California.
During a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference, Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, revealed what God is now calling him and his family to do. A trip to minister in a village in Myanmar where there were no believers , no not one, and seeing God turn up to heal not one person but everyone Francis laid his hands on, has changed Francis and his families lives. This is a story you need to hear, so I have attached his sermon, hopefully it will change your life too.
“At one point, we were in this village that had no believers, like zero. Not a single one,” he recalled. “And this lady had built a relationship with the head monk and the village leader and somehow was able to work out that we could go into the village.”
“My translator told me he had been in that area before and was chased out with knives and stones thrown at him, so he was terrified,” Chan continued. “But the entire village showed up, and I had the honour of sharing the Gospel through a translator, to be the first one to lay out the Gospel and explain that they had a Creator and explain that He had a son and explain what He did on the cross and the resurrection.”
“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”
Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering.
“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.”
“Every person I touched was healed,” Chan declared as the audience applauded.
“You guys, OK, this is craziness to me,” he added. “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.”
Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.”
“I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared.
Francis admitted that when he walked in the village, he had a “little bit of fear,” adding, “I said, ‘No, no, this is no different than if You walked in the village, and I know what you’d do, Jesus. You’d proclaim the Good News and you’d heal.'”
“I started having this mindset again of going, ‘No, no, this is what the Word of God says. You said I would do the same things that You did, and even greater things. Jesus, I know what You would have done in this village.’ I believe there was something about that faith, I believe there was something about the unity that we had as a group there,” he explained.
Chan said that although he disagreed theologically with some of the individuals on his team, he believes God was “honored by this fight for unity, and I believe God was honoured by this pursuit of the unreached, and obeying the Great Commission and we saw power.”
“And I don’t know that that means it will happen every time,” he clarified. “My theology says I don’t think it will happen everywhere … but best I understand Scripture, He wants me to believe in my unity with Him, this power that I have because He and I are one. He wants to believe that you and I can become perfectly one.”
Chan revealed that in three weeks, his family plans to move to Hong Kong and go to “some places that are pretty sketchy, dangerous.” The reality of persecution, he said, has caused him to “evaluate” his beliefs.
“Do I still believe that my life has no value outside of accomplishing what God wants me to do?” he asked.
The pastor said that while he loves to preach the Word of God to believers, it’s “nothing like” preaching to people who have never heard the name of Jesus.
“So I’m excited. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be moving, Lord willing,” he said.
During the service, Chan also compared Americans to “spiritual foodies,” adding: “All of you are. … We’re just picking it apart. And I just go, ‘I don’t know if I can do that anymore when there are people who have no spiritual food, who have never heard the name of Jesus.’”
“I say this because there’s a crowd of young people here, and you’re thinking about what to do with your life,” Chan continued. “Just think through the calling of Scripture, because I want that peace that I felt there. I want that for your life, and I know what you’re going to face your entire life here. You’re going to hear a lot of lies and a lot of those are going to come from within the church.”
“If I had listened to those voices, I would’ve missed out on so much of life because so many people, even in the church today, they’ll reason with you from their logic rather than from the Scriptures,” he warned.
Chan said it is “crazy” to him that it’s “perfectly normal” to be a Christian in America and be “obsessed with staying alive,” citing John 12:25: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
“Is that what you really see in the Scriptures?” Chan asked. “The only thing I’m trying to do with my every breath is complete the ministry He gave me. If I’m going to breathe another day, it’s to finish the task that He’s given me, which is to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I just want to get out and explain the grace, what God has given me, through Jesus Christ.”
A few years ago, Pastor Shane Idleman prayed, “Lord, bring revival to the churches.” Read the response God gave him.
“I was not ready for the response that followed. I felt impressed with these words: “You don’t want revival—it will ruin your schedule, your dignity, your image and your reputation as a person who is ‘well balanced.’ Men will weep throughout the congregation. Women will wail because of the travail of their own souls. Young adults will cry like children at the magnitude of their sin. With the strength of My presence, the worship team will cease playing. Time will seem to stand still. You won’t be able to preach because of the emotions flooding your own soul. You’ll struggle to find words but only find tears. Even the most dignified and reserved among you will be broken and humbled as little children. The proud and self-righteous will not be able to stand in My presence. The doubter and unbeliever will either run for fear or fall on their knees and worship Me—there can be no middle ground. The church will never be the same again.”
Pastors, do you truly want revival?
What about Christian leadership? Is it ready for revival?
Shane Idleman was recently asked for his take on the controversy surrounding Francis Chan speaking at what some call “questionable events.” He took time to pray while driving three hours to one of these events to meet Chan and hear him speak. Once again read the outcome.
“When I met Chan backstage, I found him to be very humble and eager to listen as we talked about these issues. True to form, he also delivered a powerful message on repentance. Isn’t that our goal as preachers? The event moved me deeply during worship, and I had the opportunity to meet some of the other speakers such as Corey Russell and Derek Carr. Their passion for the lost and their heart for “genuine” revival was evident, as thousands came forward to recommit and renew their relationship with the Lord.
The irony is that when I try to tell it like it is, heresy hunters are not open, humble or teachable. The old adage “Don’t confuse me with the facts” comes to mind.
Why are emotional worship nights of prayer, and pressing into God, viewed as fanatical when these things are actually biblical? Why do I never see the heresy hunters at all-night worship services or broken by the Lord at the altar? This question demands an answer—and the answer is that many have never been filled mightily with the Holy Spirit. They can’t say, like Jeremiah, that God’s Word is in their heart like a burning fire (Jeremiah 20:9).
Followers of my blog know that I promote Francis Chan’s view of the church. He has come under severe criticism for his involvement in the recent SEND Conference. This is his response.
WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES ACCEPT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS IN PLACES THAT TOLERATE THEOLOGY THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOURS?
I speak at events almost every week of the year. Often times, it’s more than one event a week. I don’t really enjoy it—I hate the travel, but try not to complain about it. Despite the toll it can take on myself and the family, it is always an honour to preach the Word. I believe it is my calling. Some question my choice to speak so often, but my best discernment and the discernment of the elders of our church is that it is still a part of my calling in this season.
I am asked to speak at approximately 500 events a year. I decline approximately 90% of the requests. It’s a difficult thing to do. Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us. It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching. It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers. While some may be dear friends, there are many that I know little about. This current experience has caused me to consider exercising more caution and to develop a team to help me research. That being said, I speak in many places where I am not in alignment theologically. I actually believe that is where I can be most effective, as long as they give me freedom to address anything I believe the Lord wants me to address.
I recognise, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t. Unless the elders of my church direct me differently, I will continue to be found preaching in venues with those I disagree. I will preach in just about any kind of setting if I’m given freedom to preach from any passage of scripture. The elders and I are trying to come up with more safeguards for future events to hopefully prevent misunderstandings. Pray for us.
I have across another great sermon from Francis Chan. He starts in Revelation and its importance for these “last days” including sound teaching on the “Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18, but he concludes with information on how they are doing church. It lines up with the church we read about in the Book of Acts: small groups that require all participants to use their Holy Spirit given gifts, no buildings, no paid pastors and those small groups giving rise to more small groups – disciples making disciples. The centrality and inerrancy of Scripture is KEY.
EASTER 2018 WAS LIFE CHANGING FOR FRANCIS CHAN, MAY IT BE SO FOR YOU TOO.
Francis Chan says Easter is the most stressful day of the year for pastors. Some people only go to church on Easter—and it’s up to the pastor to get them to stick around! Or is it? Chan says all his old views were challenged by a powerful lesson God taught him. Now he doesn’t hate or dread Easter anymore. Find out why.
You will need 35 minutes to listen to this powerful lesson. The new understanding Francis got on Communion was illuminating and challenging to me. Let me know what you think. Blessings, may you know His will for your life from this day forward. Ron
Great message from Francis Chan on what the church has lost and how we need to take it back from the enemy. Knowing what God promises is the key. Supernatural power is available when we are in God’s will. We need church like in the Book of Acts when Holy Spirit power was evident. Sharing possessions like the church in the Book of Acts. The church is one, like Jesus prayed to the Father for, so the world would believe.