Chan and Change

Francis Chan is just a guy who pastors a large church in California.  He’s not the smartest, most famous, most respected, most anything…I’m guessing.  He’s just a guy.  But the direction he lead his church in, or so the legend goes, is remarkable and unheard of.  Or perhaps it wasn’t lead as much as allowed.  Anybody know?

The story is – correct me if I’m wrong – that his church was on track to spend 20 million dollars to build a new building.  What happened, and I don’t know how, was that the decision was made to build an outdoor meeting place instead.  Much cheaper.  Much much cheaper.  And the money that was saved would then go to the truly poor around the world.  And, the story goes, meeting outside on rainy days or hot days would serve to remind folks in the church of the discomfort others live in every day.

Spend less.  Create empathy.  Mobilize to show mercy.  Sounds like church to me.

I’ve never met Francis Chan.  I saw him in the hotel lobby in Austin a couple weeks ago and didn’t want to interrupt to say hey.  But this weekend I’m looking forward to interrupting him just long enough to say thanks for the story and to get more details.  Even if it’s not entirely true – what do I know? – it’s inspiring.  What could church become?  How does it become it?  What is the pastor’s role in that becoming?  Can it happen without him?

Here’s the video reportedly created by Chan’s church to explain why such a radical financial decision was made: