Sometimes, I go for many days being very discouraged, convinced that evangelicalism itself is so detrimental to my spiritual health that staying away from it is a major responsibility.
Rarely do I hear news from a church that isn’t hype, spin, thinly disguised church growth, cultural capitulation, etc. Finding Jesus-shapedness in evangelicalism is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Then, I read Jared Wilson’s announcement that his community, Element, is adopting a vision to give away 60% of their income to missions and operate the community- salaries, facilities, insurance, etc- on 40%.
I read, and my heart is filled with hope and optimism. Yours will be, too.
Element isn’t a megachurch. It’s a young and growing evangelical/missional community in Nashville. Jared is a writer/preacher/teacher/blogger many of you know from Thinklings and Gospel Driven Church.
He took inspiration from Francis Chan’s leadership at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Ca., a church that recently decided to shelve its plan for a $20 million dollar facility in favor of an amphitheater and a park; a plan that reduced the price by millions which they plan to give away. (Yes, that’s what I said.)
Element decided to move in a similar direction financially. Missions and church planting will become the heartbeat of what Element is doing in the world. And if they do this right, they will set a tone that will turn over tables in evangelicalism far and wide.
I was once part of a church that gave 35% of its budget to missions. I don’t need to tell you it was a spiritual dynamo at the time. Those days are gone, sacrificed to the cynicism of evangelicalism’s “What about me?” mood at present. But some younger evangelicals aren’t giving up yet.
By the way, Jared has just written a book on Jesus. I’m sure the two events have nothing to do with each other. (ahem)
So Jared, if I lose my job, I am moving to Nashville, and I am coming to Element. If nothing else, just to sit around and soak in the fact that some younger evangelicals have figured out that Jesus isn’t the patron saint of the mall-like religion we’re currently presiding over.
No. Jesus gives it away. And if you follow him, you give it away. And rejoice that you’ve found the fellowship of the heart of God.
If you are in Nashville and need a Christian community, you are nuts if you aren’t at Element next Sunday. This is the hard thing that identifies Jesus shaped spirituality.