Tuesday, July 22, 2008


"So just what is Christian Challenge?" That question gets asked a lot! People often confuse us with the Youth Challenge program administered by the LA National Guard, possibly because we're in the same city as Camp Beauregard. (Whew, that's a lot of links in one sentence!) Others sometimes confuse us with Teen Challenge, a nation-wide ministry to those struggling with "life controlling habits." (Their story is told in the intriguing book "The Cross and the Switchblade.")

CCI-101However, Christian Challenge is not connected to either of these excellent organizations (although reading "The Cross and the Switchblade" did have a faith influence on my father.) But Christian Challenge is not just a church either, although we definitely are a community of believers. We worship together, build relationships together, serve the purposes of the Kingdom of God together. But we're not just a church in the traditional sense. We place great emphasis on introducing the believer into the world of the disciple.

This past Sunday afternoon I had the opportunity to lead a group of people through a new document we've developed to help newcomers get a feel for the ministry. The session is called "CCI 101" and we give out a 16 page booklet that contains a lot of information: history, purpose, beliefs, leadership, uniquenesses, how to plug in, etc. I want to highlight one section from the booklet - the section on Purpose:


Christian Challenge exists to make disciples. In the Great Commission Jesus left one command: “Make Disciples!” Everything else was extra … going, teaching, baptizing … all of these things were the background, the processes, but the command was to make disciples.

What is a disciple? The dictionary defines a disciple as “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” or “a convinced adherent of a school or individual”. These definitions speak well enough, but we define a disciple as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ who loves Him and wants to be like Him. A disciple is one who is implementing the three core actions of Christian Challenge:

  • Love God (Worship)
  • Love Others (Fellowship)
  • Serve the World (Evangelism)
All of the ministries of Christian Challenge revolve around these three core motivations. This is what a disciple does. This is what a disciple IS.

There you have it. That's what Christian Challenge is all about. I'm excited and honored to get to serve such a wonderful group of believers who truly want to make an impact on our world. I've shared with our staff that although we can't change the world, we can change the world of the people around us. Thanks, Christian Challenge, for being that kind of people. Truly...

I LOVE serving Jesus with YOU!

P.S. Anybody know what the "I" in "CCI" stands for? Do you know what it stood for before it stands for what it stands for now? Take "CCI-101" next time we offer it and you'll find out!!! [G] If you know what it is, leave me a comment!


Jenni said...

It stands for "Inissiate"... just kidding!!!

I know what it is! But I won't spoil it for everyone else!


NathanMartin said...

ROFL!!! That's too funny!

Thanks for not spoiling it for everyone else.

BTW, for everyone else, the inside joke is that during my sermon on Sunday I talked about God initiating things in our lives, but I kept pronouncing it "inissiating" ... I don't have a lisp but for some reason that word just would come out right. So the staff gave me a hard time during staff meeting on Monday. I try to keep them on their toes ... glad they were listening!


Jenni said...

I'm just grateful that you weren't


Anonymous said...

CCI Chritian Challenge Institute, no, no it is Intuition yeah that is the ticket! :-)

I read the CCI 101 book...

NathanMartin said...

Good one, Rich! Some would say I probably need to be "institutionalized" at times - right now my brain is so over-squozen I would welcome the breather! [GRIN]