Wayne Cordeiro is the founder of New Hope Christian Fellowship, a prolific author and the president of New Hope Christian College in Eugene, Ore.
CONNECTION TO OUTREACH MAGAZINE: Cordeiro is featured on the cover of the September/October 2011 issue.
What was the motivation for writing this new book, The Irresistible Church: 12 Traits of a Church Heaven Applauds (Bethany House)?
We have 375,000 churches in the United States, and the U.S. isn’t getting any better; it’s getting worse. Our churches are losing their authority. Jesus is becoming kind of a ceremonial God rather than a God of influence and authority in our lives. Sort of like the queen of England. She doesn’t run the country; the parliament and prime minister do. The queen is just a ceremonial figurehead. That’s what I see happening in our churches. It’s like a picture of Abraham Lincoln, “Honest Abe.” We say, “Oh, that’s so cool, that’s our country,” but he doesn’t really influence anything this country does.
I wrote this book to encourage church leaders to return to the church’s true identity, to ratchet back to Jesus and the anointing of God and His power. It’s almost as if we say, “Jesus is not enough; we’ve got to find a new way to attract people.” The irresistible church I’m talking about in this book is not a church that’s irresistible to men. It’s a church that’s irresistible to heaven—a church to which God says, “I just can’t help but be involved in that church. I can’t help but help that church prosper and harvest the wheat.”
In fact, I recently had a staff meeting where I said to our campus pastors I mentor and coach, “We’ve got to get back to Jesus and the Word.” And we will still do it excellently, with multimedia and drama. It doesn’t mean you cut out excellence and creativity when you present the Gospel. But you make sure that it’s the Gospel people walk away with—not the presentation.
You write that one of the irresistible church’s 12 traits is living “heart first.” What does it mean to live heart first?
It starts with always doing heart checks as to what your motives are. For example, this morning during my devotions, I was talking with a friend who had bought some things for his elderly mother. She had given him a check for $100 and then called him back an hour later to complain of the quality of things he’d purchased.
He asked me, “What should I do? I just want to give her back the check.” I said, “OK, but that’s your way of punishing your mother because if you were living heart first, you would have refused the check in the first place. (Christians have an uncanny way of figuring out new and creative means by which we punish one another.) Returning her check will bring her guilt. You haven’t scrubbed your heart. You are not living heart first.”
I asked him, “What’s in your heart?” and he admitted, “Yeah, I’m mad at her.” So I said, “You want to live heart first and then rectify it somehow … .”
BOOKS BY CORDEIRO:
The Irresistible Church: 12 Traits of a Church Heaven Applauds (2011)
Leading On Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion (2010)
Doing Church as a Team: The Miracle of Teamwork and How It Transforms Churches (2009)
The Encore Church: What Makes People Come Back? (2009)
Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior (2008)
The Seven Rules of Success: Indispensable Wisdom for Successful Living (2006)
Rising Above: Living a Life of Excellence No Matter What Life Throws You (2004)
Dream Releasers: How to Help Others Realize Their Dream While Achieving Your Own (2002)
Attitudes That Attract Success: You Are Only One Attitude Away From a Great Life (2001)
Gems Along the Way (1997)
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