So while makeing my way through the unChristian book there have been two articles that have been stuck in my head.
The first is by Louie Giglio, founder of Passion.
Merging Faith and Action
“I am hopeful about the future of Christian engagement because I think Christians are merging faith and action more than ever. I’ve been reading a book called What Have You Done For Me Lately? that documents the history of Christian contribution to culture. Anyone who is a serious student of history would have to say that Christianity and its underpinnings have been, in most cases, the fuel in the engine of social revolution.
Even though Christians have historically been at the forefront of these kinds of movements, I believe in these days it is being embraced as much as ever – it’s all about faith plus works. You will show me your faith by your works… it is the merging of these two things together that brings amazing power.
Our organization, Passion, recently hosted a global gathering in Atlanta of over 23,000 college students who consider themselves Christians. Instead of the typical Christian conference with consumerist appetite for great speakers and music, we made the centerpiece of these four days the “Do Something Now!” campaign. We put eight global opportunities on the table and said to the students, “We think you have the money in your pockets to change the world.”
And sure enough, they responded.
Those poor college students pledged or gave over one million dollars to build fifty-two wells in Africa, to provide New Testament translations for six people groups of Indonesia, and to combat the human sex trafficking industry.
It is clear to me that something significant has absolutely shifted with this generation. I think it is God’s great kindness stirring our hearts to show his great kindness to the world. With this behind us, the students at Passion aren’t the ones who look good, and this -generation doesn’t look like a hands-on, get-involved, do-something generation. God looks good. And God looks like a hands-on, get-involved, do-something God. I think that is what this generation wants – an action based worship. There is nothing wrong with jumping to a David Crowder tune and telling God he is great – that is worship. But worship is also doing the right thing and sharing with others in need. Those are the things that make God happy, and this is a generation that wants to make God happy. They demonstrate this by moving in action to touch the last and least of these in the world.”
The second is by Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church.
Building a Coffee House Instead of a Church
“I went into church planting with a traditional mindset: meet in rented facilities until you can buy or build a church building. Then God strategically postitioned National Community Church in the middle of the marketplace. NCC started meeting in the movie theaters at the Union Station. Not only is Union Station the most visited destination in the nation’s capitol – approximatly twenty-five million people pass through the Station every year – it also has 125 retail shops, a food court, a train station, a metro stop, and a movie theatre.
In our early days, well-meaning pastor friends would ask me when NCC was going to get a “church,” as if church without a church building isn’t a legitimate church. Part of me wanted to say, “Have you seen our church?” After all, not too many churches have their own subway system or food court. Why build a church building when you can meet at Union Station?
As NCC began to reach unchurched and dechurched twenty-somethings in DC, there was a moment when I realized that even if we could buy or build a church building, there was no way we could vacate such a strategic spiritual beachhead. And doing church in the middle of the marketplace became part of our spiriual DNA. Our vission is to meet in movie theatres at metro shops throughout the DC area. NCC also owns and operates the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Ebenezers opened for business on National Coffee Day – March 15, 2006. In 2007, it was voted the #2 coffeehouse in the metro DC area by AOL CityGuide.
So why did we build a coffeehouse instead of a church building? Because Jesus didn’t hang out at the synagogues. He hung out at the wells. Wells weren’t just places to draw water. Wells we natural gathering places in ancient culture. Coffeehouses are postmodern wells. To borrow the sociological term, our coffeehouse is a third place where the church and community can cross paths.
Along with serveing coffee day in and day out, the performance space at Ebenezers doubles as a sancuary for two Saturday night services. And most of the attendees are neighbors and customers.
Too many churches expect the unchurched people to come to them, but the church is called to go to unchurched people. The church is called to compete for the kingdom in the middle of the marketplace.”