Back in 2012, a video series was released that sought to get down to the basics of what the church should be about. A 7-DVD set, the series features pastor and speaker Francis Chan, and interspersed with Chan speaking are snippets of a visual story that unfolds throughout the series. Sadly, many people to this day have never heard of the Basic series. That’s a shame, because it’s really well done.
Chan’s messages are thought-provoking, challenging, and, at times, uncomfortably convicting. He calls those of us in the church examine what we’re doing, and why, and encourages us towards taking steps to drill down to the core of the gospel:
- fearing God
- following Jesus – i.e., actually doing what he taught
- truly believing in the power of – and submitting to – the Holy Spirit
- working to establish deep – and sacrificial – fellowship
- spurning popular opinions and feelings, and instead basing teaching on the authority of scripture
- engaging in a Biblically-based model of prayer
- returning to more intimate practices of communion
In short, being the church as Jesus preached, and practiced.
The underlying video montages – all without dialogue – depict a story of discovery, and journey, and calling. At certain points along the way the viewer isn’t quite sure what’s going on (much like life), but at the end, the elements of the visual story tie together in a way that’s pretty compelling.
Chan’s message in the series would almost certainly sound harsh and out-of-step to those outside the church, but my guess is that it would also be a hard sell for a growing number of churches. I mean, heck, there are parts of me that respond with “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60).
But I think what he’s suggesting is worth pursuing. Intentionally. Deliberately. Doggedly, even. The church, and Christians, really don’t look all that different from the culture at large. And that’s not the church that Jesus intended. Unpopular though it may very well end up being, it’s time to get back to basics.
Because it’s no longer in print, the DVD sets that one can find are ridiculously expensive. However, christianbook.com has the series available for download. It would make a great change of pace for a Sr. High or adult Sunday School class, or Bible study.
You can purchase the download version here:
BASIC. Series, Sessions 1-7 PDF and Video Download [Video Download]