Gang vs. Church
The last speaker at the conference was a guy named Francis Chan. I wish they had his talk for free because it was absolutely powerful. He’s a great speaker, but the message he communicated was clearly empowered by the Holy Spirit. I may write more of what he talked about in another post, but he told a story that I think anyone who calls themselves a Christian should sit with for a while.
There was a young man coming to his church who was in a gang. Francis talked with him a number of times, and the young man ended up putting his faith in Christ. He left the gang (I don’t remember if he did that when he decided to follow Jesus or before) and jumped headlong into this church. A couple months later, one of the people in the church came up to Francis.
He informed him that he had run into the young man who had left the gang and had the chance to talk to him for a little while.
“Hey, I haven’t seen you in church in a while, is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I guess church just didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I thought it was supposed to be like a family or something, but I just had the wrong idea.”
“No, you’re right. Jesus calls the church a family, and a body. That’s what the church is.”
“Oh, well, I guess it’s a different kind of family. I mean, from the moment I was initiated into the gang I knew they were my blood. If had to sleep outside, they’d be out there with me. We didn’t just see each other once in a while, we were together all the time. We shared everything. They had my back, 100%”
When Francis heard this story he said it tore him apart. It should tear us apart too, because when it comes to living like a family, it is a rare church that isn’t put to shame by a gang. We can judge the morality of what they do all we want, but I suppose that would be more about deflecting the conviction that should be ours than anything else. Family takes sacrifice.