This post has been about eighteen months in the making, and I feel that now is the right time to share these thoughts.
First, let me say that I love John Renken. He was my friend before I became the lead pastor of Xtreme. He was my friend when he stepped down. He was my friend during my first year at Xtreme. He is my close friend now. Our families spend time together and I consider him a brother. In fact, he and I lift weights together three times a week and I kick-box in his gym, at least, twice a week.
John is a former MMA fighter who founded Xtreme almost twelve years ago. He simply wanted to reach people with the gospel—most of whom the Church had done a great job of ignoring. I love him for that! For a couple of years, Xtreme Christian Fellowship shared space with John’s MMA business, and it worked. I am not ashamed of the history of our church.
However, we are not a fight church. The term “fight church” is, in my opinion, a gimmicky brand. Some use it as a backhanded way of mocking a few of the people we reach—those who practice or enjoy combat sports/MMA. Others use it because of their narrow view of the Gospel and their worship of tradition and form.
For the record, I have never called Xtreme a fight church. The demographics of Xtreme are, for the most part, what would be found at any church in Clarksville—young military or former military families from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. The main difference is that most of the people at Xtreme are there because that is where they came to know Christ, or because they were, at one time, burned by what some would call “traditional” church.
We truly are a church full of the formerly de-churched, young Christians and seekers. But we are not a fight church. The churches that bicker, complain, attack other Christians, split over the color of the carpet and judge what they do not understand… those are the fight churches ; )
If anything, here is what we will fight:
- We will fight injustice.
- We will fight hunger.
- We will fight slavery.
- We will fight the enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy.
And we’ll do it all by bringing grace to a lost world by sharing and showing the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Originally posted at pastorcarlo.wordpress.com