I love to be challenged. As uncomfortable as it can be to have my thinking "adjusted", I think in the end it means I am willing to grow...to develop in all areas. I get juiced when I read or hear something that makes me take some time to "digest" it all.
On a plane ride home, I was reading the Sept/Oct issue of Rev! magazine. I really like Rev! as it is a great resource for ministry today. There was an interview titled, "Crazy, Audacious Pastoring" featuring Francis Chan. Chan is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California.
Question posed to Chan: Why did you decide not to build a $20 million building, when that was the logical next step for a church of your size?
Chan's response: "Our attendance is 3,000 to 4,000 people, but our sanctuary can only hold 1,000 people, so we're packed. The opportunity to build arose, so we went into escrow on some land. Then they showed me the plans for the building. Nothing felt right about it. I didn't feel that Jesus would go forward this way. I didn't have peace about it. I thought, "Wouldn't Jesus have people meet him at the park or even make it harder for people to follow him?" When the crowds were there, he didn't give the type of altar call that would get everyone forward. He almost gave an anti-altar call. "Are you sure you're supposed to be here? Maybe you should leave because you don't understand the commitment...
You still want to be here? Pick up your cross and follow me."
Jesus preached sacrifice. It's almost like he hid and the people had to find him. I thought, "Man, would he really create the most comfortable atmosphere to draw people on, or would he make it a little bit more difficult for them?" Isn't the heart of God to sacrifice your own pleasures for the sake of those who are in greater need? Isn't that what 1 John 3:16-18 was about? I thought, "What if we did make it a little bit more difficult?" Every week we're feeding people who live outside. In other parts of the world, this is how they live 24 hours a day. I'm simply sacrificing an hour of my week for their sake."
In the end, Cornerstone scrapped plans for the $20 million auditorium, deciding instead to build an outdoor ampitheater and give half the budgeted money to aid others.
Makes me think. God leads different churches/leaders in different ways. No cookie-cutter mentality allowed. I must expose myself to the multiple and varied ways of our omnipotent God.