The Good Fight
On sanctification, making war against sin, and cannibalism in the New Reformed movement.
September 8, 2009
On the flight to Dallas to interview Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas, we read an article about the principles that should guide churches hoping to reach the younger generation. According to the author, the key is customization. The article stated that 18 to 30 year olds have grown up without boundaries, they create their own playlists on their iPods, and they don't want a church that sets high expectations or limits their options.
Obviously the author has never visited The Village Church.
When Chandler arrived at "The Village" in 2002, the church was in a season of restructuring. The primarily Boomer congregation of 150 invited Chandler (27 at the time) to bring a younger perspective. With experience as a college pastor, and a firm commitment to Calvinist theology, Chandler began adjusting the philosophical and theological underpinnings of the The Village.
Rather than lowering expectations and preaching highly practical sermons, his preaching focused on doctrine, God's character, and an unashamed call to commitment and holy living. Today The Village is a multiple-site church with over 6,000 in attendance and with the majority of members under 35. Chandler's impact has also made him a leading voice in the New Reformed movement, which represents the resurgence of Calvinism among younger Christians.
Leadership editors Marshall Shelley and Skye Jethani met with Chandler to discuss what he's learned about reaching young people with the gospel, and why the trend toward pragmatic discipleship is failing to move his generation toward godliness.
When you first came to faith, how did you understand the process of growing in Christ-likeness?
I grew up in a pretty abusive home. There was a lot of ...