here are a couple of bits from his article, but go read the whole thing.
[In starting Cornerstone Church] I simply followed what other churches in America had done. I didn’t even think twice about it. But as I look back, I’m amazed that I didn’t consult the Scriptures as my primary resource. Had I done so, “church” probably would have looked different.
If I had consulted the Bible first, I probably would have created a gathering that emphasized loving one another. Instead, I spent years running a service that left little room for love. It quickly became the most popular service in town. It was “successful.” The problem is, we defined success as a lot of people coming, enjoying the service, and receiving some sort of benefit. Our motives seemed pure, and good things were happening, so we didn’t question much.
How would we define success if the Bible were the only standard by which we judged our church? If you had no theological training or previous church experience—if you did nothing but read through the Bible fifty times—what would you consider to be essential for a gathering of believers? How would you measure the success of a church?
We have trouble building our churches exegetically, however, because we are surrounded by so many influences, and each of these beg us to think subjectively. My thinking is constantly affected by my Asian culture, my American culture, my Southern Californian culture, my evangelical church culture, and a host of other factors. Then I have my own flesh that begs me to believe what I desire to be true. There is so much in this world that would keep us from simply listening to the voice of God.
When I began to realize this, I prayed that God would allow me to ignore the prodding of my culture, my lifestyle, and my flesh as I searched the Scriptures for an exegetical model of church. I have listed some of my conclusions below.
on a somewhat related note, yesterday at Austin Stone, Matt reminded the church about its vision to be a church “for the City.”
We are seeking to live out the same desire as Francis Chan to do church biblically instead of culturally.