By Carey Nieuwhof: Francis Chan has become convicted that division in the church is escalating and causing deep harm. He also thinks it’s tied to the desire for celebrity and influence so many leaders have.
Francis also talks about racial division and his experience as an Asian-American who has been the target of discrimination.
Welcome to Episode 413 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey shares a few thoughts on unity, division and the Church.
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Most churches have experienced stability in giving over the last year—that is some of the best news the team at Generis has heard during the pandemic.
But, a new concern is growing—will the other shoe drop in 2021? Will the economy shift? Will giving begin to trend down?
The truth is, whether it is next month, next year, or in five years, a shoe will drop, the economy will shift, and there will always be a new mission, need, or challenge that will require resources. It’s just a part of the natural ebb and flow of church finance. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could be prepared by understanding how healthy your church is no matter what financial reality you might face?
Think of the Generosity Pulse Report as a quick snapshot of the health of your culture of stewardship and giving. Wouldn’t it be super helpful to know where you stand today, identify what needs improvement, and what you can do to move the needle on greater generosity?
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Insights From Francis
1. When it comes to racial justice, be quick to listen
During the interview, Francis talked about how he has been somewhat unaware of the depths of the struggles of the Native American people in America until a few days before the time of recording. He’d went and stayed the night on a reservation. Going there, seeing how they live, and asking questions about them opened his eyes to their struggle.
He thinks that this year has started a listening and learning process for many similar to what he experienced, and would encourage all of us to lean in and listen to those with a different experience than us.
2. As Christian leaders, decreasing our own name is a great way forward
When Francis was serving the underground church in China, a Chinese pastor told him:
“You Americans keep thinking that you have to become popular to have an impact. But in China and the underground church, it was those who were most hidden that had the most impact, the greatest impact, because we couldn’t be found.”
This made Francis ask himself, “Could it be possible that me being quieter, and in the presence of God and doing more things that are unseen, will actually have a greater impact in lifting up the name of Jesus?”
As a Christian leader, ask yourself whose name you are working to increase. Yours, or Christ’s?
3. The Western Church is being deeply damaged by division and outrage
So much of the Western church has been hijacked by ideology, political division and outrage. This has caused pastors to blacklist each other, entire denominations to split repeatedly and nearly an entire generation to walk away from the church.
This isn’t helping the gospel reach more people. If we’re going to move forward, we need to move forward together—even if we disagree.
Quotes from Episode 413
No one ever hears the apology as loudly as they hear that initial biting, angry thought. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
If you feel nothing for people outside of your little circle, I’ve got to question whether the Spirit is in you. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
I think most leaders in America are thinking, ‘I must increase so that He can increase.’ We think it’s up to us. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
I had a very casual attitude towards Christian unity, and I think it’s because it just felt like it was impossible. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
I thought I was pretty sensitive to the Black Lives Matter movement. But you really can’t understand it ’til it’s you. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
It was the first time it really hit me and hurt me and it’s like, ‘So just because of my nationality?’ It was devastating. @crazyloveClick To Tweet
Anyone who pursues unity will be accused of, ‘Oh, you just want unity at the expense of truth.’ Well, would it be possible that you want both? @crazyloveClick To Tweet
Could it be possible that me being quieter, and being in the presence of God and doing more things that are unseen, will actually have a greater impact in lifting up the name of Jesus? @crazyloveClick To Tweet
It’s easier to be divisive than it is to be unifying.Click To Tweet
A blaming culture needs a confessing church.Click To Tweet
You’ll never address what you don’t confess.Click To Tweet
A divided nation needs a united church.Click To Tweet
If God has all the same opinions you do, you’re probably not worshiping God.Click To Tweet
In a divided culture, Christians should be the help and the hope, not the hate.Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
WHAT WILL IMPACTFUL PREACHING LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?
Every time I preach, there are 10 things I check to make sure that my sermon is ready to go.
I outline those 10 things inside the Preaching Cheat Sheet.
If you want a step-by-step process to craft clear sermons that are relevant to your audience, this is for you.
The Preaching Cheat Sheet is just one small part of Mark Clark and I’s course The Art Of Better Preaching. If you want world class-training that will make your preaching better, you can find more information here.
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Next Episode: Tim Keller
Tim Keller shares some personal reflections about his recent battle with pancreatic cancer and how it’s causing him to rethink his beliefs about God and suffering, drawing him even more deeply into truths he used to only partially understand. Tim also reflects on what a year of crisis has done to the church, and shares some thoughts on the future of the church, how culture has changed in the last year, and what needs to happen next.
Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 414.