Crazy Love author wants to plant 586 churches—all in apartment buildings
San Francisco’s Tenderloin district houses 37,000 people in 586 apartment buildings—all in just one square mile. The multi-denominational ministry San Francisco City Impact (SFCI) dreams of planting churches in those apartment buildings—in every single one of them.
Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, is working with the SFCI team on an initiative called Adopt a Building. Their mission: to “holistically heal and transform” the San Francisco community through urgent-relief works and preventive works.
The urgent-relief works provide food, clothing, housing and rescuing for those in crisis; the preventive works of educating, counseling, training and spiritual discipleship exist to make sure the cycles of poverty and despair aren’t repeated.
With the Adopt a Building method, an apartment building is chosen and a prayer team assembled to pray for those residents. Then a “grace team” goes door to door, visiting each unit in the building, asking residents if there is anything they need—food, medical or school supplies, prayer.
Grace team members are there to say, “We don’t want anything from you, we just want to give,” Chan explains in a promotional video. They will compile a list of needs and prayers for residents and return the next week to deliver what was requested. This allows the teams to continue conversation they started the week before and ask if prayer requests were answered.
Chan says that if residents’ prayer requests are answered, the team can ask if they’d like to know about God. If so, the ministry then will send a discipleship team to the home to teach them how to study the Bible and know God for themselves.
“Our ultimate goal is that we would train some of these people and teach these people so well that eventually there would be a leader in that building who would gather the other believers together and even be the pastor of that apartment building,” Chan says.
“And our goal is to go to every single building and plant a church,” he adds. “I know that sounds a little far-fetched or maybe crazy to you, but we believe it can be done and we believe this is something God wants to do.”
Christian Huang, operations director for Adopt a Building, says the team will use a discipleship curriculum Chan is working on to train the pastors. The ministry’s first launch meeting was held in November; 65 volunteers attended who were working in four buildings.
“We believe God is going to answer the prayers of His people and He’s going to show His power,” Chan says. “We believe for His church to be established down here.”