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Letters to the Church

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,101 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Millions are satisfied to sit through hour-long, weekly religious services. Millions more have left the church, brokenhearted and cynical. But God is waking up His people—people who will risk everything and sacrifice anything to become the dynamic, powerful Church seen in Scripture.
We Are Church calls Christ-followers, young and old, to hold fast to their biblical roots
Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published September 1st 2018 by David C. Cook
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Craig Turnbull
[The copy of my version has a different title, Letters to the Church, and the cover resembles the hardcover version listed in Goodreads. Hereafter I'll be referring to the work as Letters to the Church]

I'm not sure at all what to make of Francis Chan's latest offering, Letters to the Church. Described by the author as "definitely the most difficult book" he has ever written, I can see this work being a polarizing word to be sure - received by some enthusiasts, and rejected by others.

Here's his t
C.H. Cobb
This is a hard book to review. What bleeds through every page is Francis Chan’s love for Christ and his desire to serve Him passionately. If there is anything Francis Chan is not, it’s lukewarm. The man pulses with a passionate desire to glorify God. Letters is personal to the point of being intimate. It is Chan’s self-disclosure of what’s been at work in his heart for the last couple decades. It’s so personal that to critique the book is inevitably to critique the author, and I shudder to think ...more
Brandon Boone
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent food for thought.

“Letters to the Church” forced me to do what every self-respecting American hates do: consider the fact that we may be wrong. In these pages, Chan challenges many of the cultural assumptions we make about church and forces us to consider God’s Word on the subject. He does so not from a place of spiritual pride, but from his own experience of falling short. This book should not be required reading for all believers (only the Bible should hold that honor), but if you’re
Jessica Hampton
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book challenged my way of thinking from the first sentence. All the way to the end I tried to see my church and what we could do differently.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: underwhelming
I liked some things said early on in the book, but otherwise I have mixed thoughts about it. After the first few chapters, I had to set it down and go read something else. Chan seems to think the early church was way more awesome than the reality was by focusing on Acts 2-4 as the baseline to the exclusion of what was going wrong. Most people only notice the dysfunctional reality starting to hit the fan with Ananias and Saphira, and then the onset of persecution. Out of most commentators and Bib ...more
Nathan Switzner
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A call to humility and simplicity

Chan compares the modern idea of church to the Biblical idea and encourages us to prayerfully do the same. Today, we have attached buildings, politics and many other unnecessary accretions to what it means to be a church. Much of what we see called “church” today is the polar opposite of what Jesus said He would build in Matthew chapter 16. What if we went back to praying, fasting, sharing, studying the scriptures, focusing on Jesus, and loving in Biblical ways t
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’d encourage anyone who plans to read this to take the time to read & really listen to what the book is saying. There’s a ton of room for personal growth which leads to overall church growth & change. 5 stars.
Jeremy Bloom
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insight on how to be the church

I would recommend this book to leaders in the church who find themselves discontent with the church in America's current condition. This book was written with experience, hope and humility.
I like how Francis Chan illustrates his points with stories and analogies. The result is a book that should be prayed through and not just read through.
Steven Robertson
Chan's style is very hyperbolic, which lends him an air of energy and enthusiasm, but also tends toward painting with a broad brush.

The book is good for encouraging a healthy view of the church and a view of the importance of the Church. The more prescriptive (which he qualifies as the way they do it, but not necessarily the only way) elements of the book are more sketchy to me.

It's not a bad book. Especially toward the end, it's less compelling (and borderline condescending), but it's still a g
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Worth the read

A moving book that will cause one to radically look at their own walk with Jesus and to additionally examine the purpose of Church and the role we have in making disciples of Jesus.
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Francis Chan had a hugely successful megachurch in California. Then he decided to walk away from it. He started feeling like he wasn't making the impact he wanted to as a pastor. First he thought he and his family might move to another country to start a ministry or church, but in visiting churches around the world Chan started to see how smaller house churches seemed to have a bigger impact in these countries than larger churches in the US. His family came back to California and started a house ...more
Sharon Hazel
May 10, 2021 rated it liked it
The author takes you on his journey of exploration regarding the function of the church today. At the start he walked away from being Pastor of a mega church of 6,000 people. I found it hard to comprehend as a church of that size is virtually unknown in the UK. His solution, eventually, was to start a church planting network called 'We Are Church'. This is made up of small groups of 10-20 people, to foster a sense of community. This is a scenario I am more familiar with as a member of a small ch ...more
Elliot Cameron
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
American church needs to hear; could have been more compelling

All in all, I think Christian leaders in America should read this book, or at least get a summary of the points. Chan accurately diagnoses real problems with a large portion of American Christian expression. He makes you think and question if our traditional understanding really is Biblical and offers some pretty convincing Biblical data to show that it's usually not.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend this to every Christian, though. Ch
Claude-Daniel Fabien
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Convicting and Motivating

Francis Chan is on a wonderful journey of obedience to the Lord according to the Word and the Holy Spirit. I appreciate god heart to follow Jesus and revealed in scripture. The church is in the midst of another reformation, a reformation to pursue God’s heart for his people and to the world. This means that we really obey and respond to God’s Word according to what it says over our traditions. Even “how” we do church is addressed.

I believe God is using Chan as prophetic
Ray Zoller
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Essential and Timely Message for me and, I Think, The Church

I read "Letters to the Church" and for some reason, Goodreads is referring to it as "We Are Church" - I suppose they'll sort that out but if you decide to read it, look for "Letters to the Church."

I attend a multi-campus megachurch. A couple of months ago, our local community campus closed and we've been trying to re-acclimate to a larger campus farther away. We're still called to this church but we're also still in community with t
David Gaddy
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Insightful take of how church is to be viewed by her members. I love that Chan has no problem reinventing or reforming thought on how to be the church. Some of his ideas were spot on to me. The move away from a business mindset. The move away from consumerism within the church.

I would suggest that these ideas can be put into practice in many ways and not necessarily in the exact same ways Chan did. The point is the concepts behind his charge to the churches. We do need to get away from consumer
Moises Godinez
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling, Inspired & Challenging

Pastor Francis Chan does an excellent job of presenting his understandings about what the Church should be according to Scripture. He points out shortcomings in the Church in a loving and caring manner that should challenge us to reevaluate our current methods. He also challenges us as individuals within the body. Are we building up the body using our gifts or are we depending on the gifts of a few? Are we causing division or promoting unity in the church? Overa
Jonathan Johnson
Great book

This book is the gold standard
It is not about having a big or a small church, but about being fulfilled from the simple pillars of Christianity:
Fellowship, discipleship, bible reading, love of suffering, and prayer (I add fasting)
Unfortunately, it seems like human nature to become complacent
This is not a book to convert people to Christianity, but a book to challenge already Christians to live lives that are more simple but yet more fulfilled that are easily distinguishable from a hap
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Convicting and inspiring

Chan as usual writes with an infectious conviction. He loves to root all of his ideas in the Bible, and does not mince words where he sees himself or the church falling short. Some of the issues he discusses deserve more depth than he gave them. The ending of the book would be better if he had taken some time to discuss issues or challenges with his proposed church model. Several important questions occurred to me that were not even mentioned.

Still he is not pushy with h
Suzanne Tegart
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Hard but Necessary Word

I bought this book after seeing Francis Chan speak on the same topic. I have become disillusioned myself after attending church for 40 years and being a Christian just as long. The question of why our modern churches don't resemble the church I read about in Acts always made me question but the older I get the less satisfied I am with the pat churchy answers. This book at once gave voice to the questions I'm still wrestling with and challenged me to ask myself why I don
Joel Howard
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A challenging and powerful personal read.

This book helps me come to terms with how I have wrestled with church and the Christian community. If you pick up this book I hope you see yourself as I saw myself. I read this book with the perspective of me being apart of the Church. With that perspective, I hear Francis writing to me, asking me to help and seek all that the Church can be, and in that help others by a means of example. Not by a voice from above but a voice from the trenches working wit
Jeff Whittum
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecclesiology
Great book. Parts of it are difficult to relate to if you are not currently operating as (or transitioning to) a house church. But I found all the challenges offered to the church in general to be good and godly ones. I have used this book as a template for a Sunday School series at the church I pastor and I think it has been very fruitful. I would like to give it 4.5 stars, but that's not an option and I just didn't think it was quite a 5. Still, another great offering to the church by a man th ...more
Mike Smith
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Letters to the Church. Two things I detest; change and the way things are! Leave the work of the Spirit to God. Work where he’s working. Be a humble Servant in a face of arrogance even

You’ve got to give this idea a great nome. Older people need to ask “is this (current church) want we want to pass on to the next generation? Really? Part of it perhaps, but not the whole. We’ve messed it up pretty badly over the past 500 years. Let the young innovate and bring energy. Let the old pass on wisdom.
Dave Boice
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Francis Chan is such a contrast to most "megapastors." Instead of jumping on the social media bandwagon like nearly all celebrity pastors, he completely went the other way. Instead of building a megachurch, he saw the writing on the wall and tried to multiply smaller churches to create intimacy, to challenge and involve believers instead of silently sitting in a pew. Reading this post-pandemic, the ideas in the book (especially at the end) challenge the old traditional view of "church" and puts ...more
Beth Wiegand
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Challenging, convicting, a breathe of fresh air.

The challenges in this book provoke the Christian to expect more from church, but not in what they consume from the church but what they live out as the church. We have settled into a sense of complacency and expect our time at church to be pleasing to us, when in fact our time as the church should be pleasing to God.
Praying that God uses these words to challenge us to be more Christ like and never settle for anything less than God's best for the
Angela R Fairbanks
A must read, and one that I will immediately re-read.

Beyond that, this is one of those books that I believe will also demand great introspection- and action. The church needs this conversation. Not to use it as weapons to fire at one another or at leaders, but a place for us to humbly start with examining ourselves and then asking the Holy Spirit how He would have us change and respond personally. This is a book for the humble. For those open to change. For those who want to please God more than
Luke Seibert
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall, I thought this was a very thought provoking read. The consumerism of the American Church is quite sobering, and we should not think that "our way" of "doing church" is the only way. However, I think Chan promotes small house churches (under 20 people) as the best alternative to mega churches without offering any middle-of-the-road options. I would probably say that if the book is read with this in mind, it could be a great starting point to begin considering how to help shape the church ...more
Richard Kyle Walker
This is a great read for any church goer especially the American church goer. Every chapter, every section, every paragraph is dripping with concern and constructive criticism from Chan on how the American church has become. As someone who started a house church with some friends a little more than a year ago, I agree with a lot of the criticisms but had to face myself and my biases down as well. This is a great book to inspire different avenues of thinking that are safely guided by scripture in ...more
Sarah Bragdon
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great for all believers

Francis Chan has a way of digging right into the soul. He doesn’t sugar coat his words. He tells it like it is. I wish ,ore people did this. This book is of course written to pastors and other leaders in the church, but every believer can apply these things to their every day lives to be a better disciple. It’s convicting, loving, and educational. I always find myself digging deeper into the Word during and after reading a Francis Chan book. This one is no different. Pleas
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I read it in just 4 days. It is my favorite by Francis Chan! It was loaned to me by a friend and I have already ordered "Until Unity" by Pastor Chan. His book is loaded with scriptural foundations to make his points. I loved that. His point is that American Church has strayed from Biblical models of how to do church and that we should return to it. I was struck by his introspection and humility about past ministry mistakes. This is rare and shows evidence of sanctification and ...more
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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.

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“By catering our worship to the worshippers and not to the Object of our worship, I fear we have created human-centered churches.” 3 likes
“Contrary to popular belief, we are all called to pastor (a word that simply means “shepherd”). Older women are to shepherd the younger (Titus 2:3–5). Parents are to shepherd their children (Eph. 6:4). Timothy was told to teach others what he himself had been taught (2 Tim. 2:2). We’re all called to be making disciples (Matt. 28:19–20). If you can’t find a single person who looks to you as a mentor, something is wrong with you.” 3 likes
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