Sunday, January 26, 2014

What FFC Is and Isn't

Fans For Christ has been around for about a decade, starting at Dragon*Con and now spreading to an international presence.  We're not as big as other ministries such as GameChurch, but we're growing and have active expansion plans.  New people join our Facebook group every day and this is only going to continue as we add new cons to our roster every year.  Recently many of our new members have found us through referrals or web searches and haven't had a chance to really interact with people in-person.  I thought that it would be a good idea to take a moment and delve into what FFC is and isn't.

A church.  We don't have a specific physical presence or building.  We're not associated with any particular denomination.  We don't hold regular services or minister to parishioners as a group.  We don't subscribe or hold to any particular Christian doctrine that would be commonly associated with a denomination (Such as Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, and so on).  We don't ordain pastors or deacons, or otherwise have a traditional church organization.  We don't have a "statement of faith" like most churches and denominations do.  

A conservative/liberal/[insert political/religious viewpoint] organization.  Our members encompass the entire spectrum of Christianity and Christian theology.  Some members are very liberal and hold to a very open interpretation of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, seeing the Word as inspired by God but written by fallible men.  Other members are very conservative and could be called "fundamentalist", believing in the Bible as God-breathed rather than just inspired, and take a very literal stance on the scriptures.  And then we have everyone who falls between the two extremes.  People's political beliefs typically follow their religious ones, so we have Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, and others within FFC.  We want to embrace ALL fans and Christians and we try not to exclude someone merely because we may disagree with them.  All members need to realize that they are going to encounter those who may have a radically different interpretation of the Bible and Christ's teachings than themselves.  We need to show each other love in Christ, following His example of how to treat even our enemies or opponents.  As a group we are not liberal, conservative, or centralist.  While our individual members certainly ascribe themselves to one of these or other particular views, FFC as a group does not and will not take a hard-line stance on any one point of the spectrum of Christian/political beliefs.  You are encouraged to have your own beliefs, but should not expect the group to agree with you in every respect. 

A place to argue a particular belief.  There are many, many theologians over the millennia who have far more knowledge, wisdom, and training than any member of FFC.  And many of of these Christian leaders have disagreed in big ways on important issues.  Just look at the differences between John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius as a prime example (see a nice comparison here:  We in FFC should not presume to have the ultimate answers about the Bible, no matter which stance or position we may hold dear.  While we should be staunch defenders of our faith, we should also do so with humility and the realization that it is unlikely that God has given any particular member a special revelation that surpasses the Bible.  And even with regards to the Bible again there have been many church leaders that have disagreed on how to read and apply certain passages.  Regardless of your particular stance on a given subject or verse, always be humble with the realization that all of these ideas have been debated for over 2000 years and we are unlikely to settle the issues until we meet God in Heaven.  These differing beliefs are what have lead to splits between denominations, churches, and people.  Having a hard-line stance on many topics is what keeps Christianity world-wide from working together and loving each other to promote God's Kingdom on earth.  The leaders of FFC do not want to see those splits within the group.  Whenever interacting within the group keep in mind the well-known saying "In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritis", or "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity."

A ministry.  Our first focus as a group is to reach out as Christians to the lost and hurt within fandom.  We seek to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who may not have heard it, may have turned away from it, or in any other way need to embrace it.  We are far beyond a social group and when we decide which cons to attend it's always with ministry and evangelism in mind.  We are not pushy or typical "Bible bangers", but we also don't shy away from the Great Commission handed down to the Church by Christ himself.  The harvest is ready and FFC wants to help gather the wheat.  Our members and especially our leaders should always be aware of how we as Christians are perceived and how our individual actions and attitudes affect those around us.  When we attend a con, drive with our FFC bumper stickers, or wear our FFC badges and shirts we need to be very aware that the people with whom we interact are seeing us as ambassadors of Christ himself.  We as a group want to bring the lost back to the Shepherd and we are not ashamed of this goal.

A fellowship.  Every one of us knows how hard it can be to share aspects of our faith with our geek friends and how hard it can be to share our fan interests with our church friends.  FFC is a place where everyone "gets" us.  We are somewhere that people can talk about Doctor Who or the Apostle Paul equally and have plenty of others who will share and discuss without thinking that either side of our hearts is weird.  Whenever possible we want to gather together online and in person to support each other, pray for each other, love each other, and have fun with like-minded people.  As a fellowship we should be able to count on our fellow FFCers to be there when we need them.  If we as Christian geeks can't count on other Christian geeks, where else can we turn?

A fan group.  We're geeks and proud of it!  We embrace our multitude of fandoms and wear our interests proudly.  Being a fan group allows us to attend cons in ways that a church or social gathering wouldn't be able to, and we want to take full advantage of this unique aspect.  And as fans we want to celebrate our passions.  

So that's Fans For Christ in a nutshell!  

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