What is the Attraction?

What is the Attraction? The Francis Chan Conversation, part 10

By Jonathan Allen, Wednesday 24th July 2019 at 10:28am

Why do we gather together?  Is it for worship, for prayer, for teaching, or for communion?  Francis Chan is concerned that, in many cases, the answer might just be, for entertainment.  This simply won’t do, Chan says, because “God desires His people to experience Him.”

Chan asserts that our job is to reveal God to people, to put Him on display, to showcase Him, “otherwise we run the risk of people attending our services who have merely fallen in love with us.”  If people are not interested in God – and we have accept that most people are not – then isn’t it deceptive to lure them to come along with something else and then try to sell them God?  Bait’n’switch.  He then relates an incident from his own ministry past:

Years ago, my friend from India drove me to a speaking engagement in Dallas.  When he heard the music and saw the lights, he said, “You Americans are funny.  You won’t show up unless there’s a good speaker or band.  In India, people get excited just to pray.”  He proceeded to tell me how believers back home love Communion and how they flock to simple prayer gatherings.  I imagined God looking down on the earth and seeing people on one side of the planet gathering expectantly whenever prayer was happening.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, people only show up for the most talented people and the “atmosphere”.  It’s embarrassing.

David Platt (Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, Multnomah, 2011, 59-60) makes the same point:

I am also struck by our reliance upon having just the right speaker and just the right musician who can attract the most people to a worship service.  But what if the church itself – the people of God gathered in one place – is intended to be the attraction, regardless of who is teaching or singing that day?  This is enough for our brothers and sisters around the world.

Can we imagine our congregations and fellowships filled with people who have come just to experience Yeshua, to hear His word, to experience forgiveness and the intimacy of His presence?