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Letters to the Church

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  754 ratings  ·  139 reviews
If God had it His way, what would our churches look like?

In his most powerful book yet, Pastor Francis Chan digs deep into biblical truths, reflections on his own failures and dreams, and stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.

As Chan says, “We’ve strayed so far from what God calls Church. We all know it. We know that what we’re experiencing is radica
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2018 by David C. Cook
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Bill Pence
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t been challenged so much by a book since I first read Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love several years ago. This book has a lot of similarities to Crazy Love, as the author looks at what a church should be according to scripture and shows where the American church is lacking. I read the book in two days, and I’m sure I will read it many more times, just as I have Crazy Love. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The author begins the book by discussing why he left Cornerstone Chur
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a hard book to criticize. For starters, it literally opens with a chapter telling the reader that if they criticize the Church or its leaders they are in danger of being killed by God.

Let me be clear: I love Francis Chan. His conviction and passion for Jesus are absolutely infectious. The BASIC video series and book Crazy Love were extremely formative in my faith journey. I believe his We Are Church network of house churches may be the most Biblical and compelling portrait of Church in
Shannon Nordgren
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So much wisdom here! This book is packed with helpful insight for the church, both its members and its leaders. As a member who was feeling frustrated and discouraged, I was reminded what the purpose of the church is and how I can be a healthy part of it. I may not be in the position to make the changes that are recommended, but I am encouraged that others are seeing the way America has lost sight of what's important.
Michelle Polk
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Francis Chan gives it to you straight. He's not worried about your feelings, your pragmatism, your problems. It's all about God! He brings nothing but meat to the table. All church members need to read this book.
Jess Entwistle
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Francis is a prophetic voice I believe. This is convicting and thought provoking. He ought to be admired for his desire to pursue the gospel and it being spread at any cost.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I was a big fan of Francis Chan right before he fell off the radar. I took my students (I was a youth pastor at the time) through his BASIC series and loved it. I read all his books in print at the time. Crazy Love was one of the first books I read after my decision that Christian books were a good thing.

Letters to the Church is a little off though. He does make some excellent and challenging points, and I'm approaching pastoring in a different way now. But I took a few issues with the book that
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really thought provoking and makes you consider if the way we do things is because it’s in line with what the Bible says or what our values are... or if it’s just the way we’ve always done it.
Dave Johnson
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
As someone who likes Francis Chan, I think this is easily his worst book.

When someone who is passionate about what they do gets a platform to speak to people, one scenario that could unfold is that that person talks about their conviction as if it should be everyone's conviction, passion, and calling. Within the Church, I've seen this happen numerous times, often (sadly) with the person using Scripture as a way to manipulate the audience on some level. These leaders often have no ill motives, b
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Francis Chan offers a double-barreled critique, if not manifesto, concerning the consumerist church of North America. Written in post-mega-church frames, Letters to the Church is a call to the communal, participatory and simple expression of church as missional life together. It doesn't take a prophet to foresee the demise of the current American church model, collapsing under the weight of its own syncretism with consumerist, entertainment and celebrity culture, but it does take courage and a p ...more
Anna Tan
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Letters to the Church is thought-provoking, especially since it addresses some of the issues I am currently having around church.

Chan draws examples from his personal experiences, both in the old megachurch and in the new house-church style, but qualifies them with the statement that what he has done and what he is doing isn't representational of what Church is meant to be worldwide. He seems to ask instead, who are you following? Jesus or the church leadership team? What does faith, love, and
Wes Smith
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Letters to the Church is a great book that is classic Chan...very biblical and very convicting. The overall goal of the book is to show that often times the way we do church does not align with the way the early church operated. Chan goes through his story of stepping down as the pastor of a megachurch and the journey God has taken him on to learn more about what God calls the local church to look like. I think it is a helpful critique in two specific ways. The first about how we have created a ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of good stuff this year. This absolutely takes the cake for read of the year. 6 stars. Convicting, written in pure love for the church. This isn't a book you read, but one you deeply experience. Thank you, Francis, for laying this out.
Amy Edwards
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book. But to know better is to do better. So much conviction.
“God, show us what to start, stop and change and give us the courage to do it!”
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In true Francis Chan fashion, this book is convicting and thought-provoking. The writing is not eloquent and is even a bit choppy in places, but Chan’s passion for the church and his desire to see her flourish overrides the writing style. Lots to think about and pray about after reading this book!
Mark Gott
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Letters to the Church, Book Review

Mark Gott

Francis Chan sets up the issues beautifully:

He begins with a discussion on the importance of unity. He recognizes, correctly, that we live in a day and age where some church leaders are willing to pounce on you for any missteps. He then pivots to a discussion of the sacredness of the church. He quotes Ecclesiastes 5 which warns us to “guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” Chan then correctly notes that in our pragmatic church culture, we ha
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Francis Chan has done it again! The message of this book often resembles that of Crazy Love (his first book), but this time around in a much cruder, straightforward way, boldly addressing Church issues to their core. The writing is simple, the focus is on the message that’s meant to be spread. I’m in agreement with pretty much everything he points out, thankful that there are still people like Francis out there to give us a much needed wake-up call.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Simply put, this is Francis Chan at his best. So much inspiration here about finding out what kind of church God wants us to lead. It is filled with convicting questions I’ll be reviewing for awhile.

I like this one more than his other books because it seems more personal. Francis has always been a gifted communicator but this book shows how he’s been building up others to lead faithfully and fruitfully.

He calls the Church to be more simple and less programmatic and that encourages me. Let’s ge
Havebooks Willread
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
I had some mixed feelings while reading this book, and decided to sit on it a little bit before writing my review. Overall, however, I really liked it as it is thought-provoking and will hopefully provoke some conversation (and Bible searching!) in our country. Before starting this book, I would recommend flipping to the afterword and reading about "surviving arrogance" as it helps get one's mind in the right attitude to then begin the book.

To get my negatives out of the way: 1) I was a little d
Carrie Daws
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What do you look for in a church? As a military spouse who's moved a lot and now as a retired spouse that still lives in an active military area, this question isn't unfamiliar to me. And, I've heard a lot of different answers over the years. Perhaps the better question for us to consider, though, is this: What does God look for in His church? And are we fulfilling the mission He assigned to us? These are the questions Francis Chan dives into in his book Letters to the Church.

It is a powerful, t
Nicholas Seders
A Well-Crafted Argument
Let me begin by saying that, though Chan is one of the authors that has most influenced my faith, I don't necessarily agree with every proposition made in this book; or, to say that more accurately, while I agree with many of his points, I believe there are some important caveats (or clarifications) to be made. One of those would be the importance of each believer working to edify the Church by devoting themselves to fellowship and discipleship, even within the context of
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an essential book for our generation to prayerfully, and I mean seriously pray with tears and repentance, read though.  I don't know if I've ever read a book by someone who clearly so deeply loves the Church.  I've read many books by people who are deeply in love with Christ or have a deep love for the broken or have a deep love for a certain ministry or have great wisdom but, Francis Chan is clearly a man who is deeply in love and deeply concerned with His body, His bride, His church be ...more
Maria Turner
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. It’s a great book to read with others. As you read you will want to have discussions with others. If not it’s a good book to read with a journal next to you. Read with an open heart. Being willing to be challenged. This not a book to condemn but instead to redirect. When did the church of Acts become counterculture? Love how Francis Chan repeatedly refers back to Gods Word. In one chapter alone there was over 24 references to Gods living word. Thank you Jesus for our bro ...more
C.R. Leverette
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book confirmed so many things that I've felt for so long. I've so often felt that the usual church service that I've always known was not "complete", that something was lacking. Chan put it in perspective for me and helped me solidify my thoughts.

If you have ever felt that you want something more from your church experience and from your own life as a Christ-follower, I recommend this book. Read it.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I put this book up there with Platt’s Radical as a wake up call to the American Church (as if it needed one). I loved the biblical foundation of every chapter as it explores a different facet of being a disciple. It’s probably a book aimed more towards pastors and planters than laypeople, in terms of application. You probably could have guessed that from the title. Still, I would encourage all to read the book and chew on what it means to “go to church” today.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
3.5 stars

Some good insights mixed in with some guilt-inducing passages if your Church doesn't fit the picture of the ideal that he describes. What does it mean to be The Church in North America? Told through a series of "letters" - some hit home, others miss the mark. Worth the read, but read it with discernment.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book that identifies many of the flaws that are present in the modern church in the West. Chan provides his ideas of a better way of gathering with other believers and impacting the world based on what we read in the Scriptures. Hopefully, this will be a book that encourages movement away from tradition and back to the Bible.
Emily Shields
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Some great passages, convicting. I would have liked more practical examples of carrying this out. Appreciated Total Church more ~ similar concept. Some excellent points and worth the read.
Philip Hartman
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not for the faint of heart. Challenges our notion of what a church is.
Jacob Vahle
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Convicting and challenging - Chan humbly calls out ways that the church fails to look like the church of the Gospels while simultaneously and with hope proclaiming that the same Jesus is with us now.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Not only does Chan tell you why he left his mega-church and how he ended up planting We Are Church, he tells you why and gives you insights as to how you can join him on this life-changing journey. A book for every pastor, Christian or seeker.
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Francis Chan is an American pastor and teacher, who lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children. He is the former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA, which he and his wife started in 1994.