Reaching Silicon Valley for Christ

Image Provided by Venture Christian Church

Too often, the only picture people have of Christianity is what they see in the media. It is all too easy for distortions of Christianity to create barriers between Christians and the people they are called to reach.

Venture Christian Church is actively combatting public perceptions about Christians.

Located in the Bay Area of California, surrounded by giants of the tech industry, Venture is trying to intentionally reach a community that values diversity and social justice. To reach them, Venture’s mission is to live out a biblical picture of those ideals, drawing from Acts 2.

True Biblical Values

Especially in liberal communities, Christians can be stereotyped as culturally insensitive, bigoted, and anti-intellectual—an image that is not only repulsive to the community around Venture, but one that runs counter to the Christianity of the Bible.

“We did a lot of research to identify cultural assumptions Silicon Valley has about Christians,” said Michael Murphy, Executive Pastor of Worship & Creative at Venture.

Venture is dismantling these common misconceptions about Christians by reflecting the body of Christ.

“A lot of the big tech companies see social justice as a core value,” Michael said. “We want to partner with them in areas where we might be biblically aligned, such as sex trafficking, homelessness, or orphans.”

“We want to partner with them in areas where we might be biblically aligned, such as sex  trafficking, homelessness, or orphans.”—Michael Murphy

The hope is, as Venture removes these barriers and builds a reputation for carrying out social justice, they will be able to form strategic partnerships with Silicon Valley’s massive, influential companies. Where there are overlaps between the church’s desire for biblical social justice and the community’s heart, Venture will be uniquely poised to forge meaningful relationships.

Venture also wants to expand the Kingdom far beyond the walls of their building. Their plan is to create “microsites” all over the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, including at the tech giants themselves.

The Body of Christ

When you walk into a Venture service, you hear worship lyrics in English and Korean. You see a high school student playing in the band next to a Vietnam veteran in his 60s. You witness cultures from all over the world converging in one place to worship God.

Venture Christian Church is truly a microcosm of the body of Christ.

 

Image avove: Venture Christian Church

 

The church currently holds separate services in Spanish, and there are Chinese and Korean small groups that meet in their building. Venture hopes to someday hold services in a host of different languages.

This beauty of diversity is not an accident or simply a byproduct of being located in a racially and culturally diverse community; it is a mission.

Modern Methods for Discipleship

The staff at Venture know that when they pour their energy into discipling individuals, those individuals take what they learn to their homes, to their workplaces, and to their communities. That is why Venture emphasizes what they call R12 Discipleship, modeled after Romans 12. Each person is equipped to expand the Kingdom wherever God has planted them.

“We found that young people especially are seeking their spiritual journeys outside of church buildings,” Michael said. “There seems to be a growing reality that there may be a lack of trust in brick and mortar, organized churches. Our response to that was to create a ‘both/and’ discipleship model. We’re reaching people inside our church campus, but we’re also making a big effort to reach outside of that.”

Venture Christian Church is truly a microcosm of the body of Christ.

Being so close to Silicon Valley has given Venture some unique opportunities to reach an especially tech-savvy community. An executive from Google serves as one of their elders. Employees from Facebook and other tech companies are members of the church. And one software developer desired to help Venture build its own discipleship app.

Though not finished yet, the discipleship app is all part of Venture’s mission to equip individuals to create and engage in community wherever they are. While the medium of a mobile app may be newer, using technology is something Venture has been doing for a long time. Venture’s senior pastor, Chip Ingram, is also an author and the president of Living on the Edge, where he disciples over a million people every week through radio and TV broadcasts.

“We want to facilitate digital relationships and create opportunities for those people to connect face to face,” Michael said.

A Localized Look at a Global Mission

If you think it sounds like Venture is doing a lot, you are right—they are. But each of these pieces falls under the umbrella of their mission:

“Venture Church exists to be a catalytic relational disciple-making movement for Jesus.”

Venture Christian Church is turning their local community into a launchpad for missionaries and Kingdom-minded Christians around the globe. While the way they live it out may be unique, that is a mission every church can share, wherever you live and whatever your community looks like.

Helping You on Your Mission

At CDF we're inspired to see all churches living out their mission in their communities. It's why we exist—to help churches grow and live out their God-given mission. If your church is looking for financial or leadership support as you live out your mission, we're here for you.

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