Helping Christians Live Like Christians – Chip Ingram
Moving from spiritual spectators to authentic disciples
The following is an adaptation of the article that first appeared in Champions Vol. III.
I understand that there was a significant moment which set you on this path of activating believers. What happened and how did you feel?
I was at a staff retreat and I said, “Lord, show me what you want me to do with my life, then I can stay on track and not get distracted.”
God told me, “Chip, I want you to be a catalyst to transform how America thinks about God, how pastors think about preaching, how churches think about the community, and how everyday believers live out their faith at home and at work.” And that became the focus of my life.
“I want you to be a catalyst to transform how America thinks about God.”
- We minister to individual believers to discover what God made them to do
- We minister to pastors to help them with preaching and church growth.
- We minister to business leaders, through Prime Movers, where we walk them through a journey. Some of the questions we have them ask are these:
“What has God called me to do?” “How has He gifted me? “What is the theme in my life?” “How do I use the platform that God gave me to impact my business?”
Tell us your backstory. How did your formative years lead to your current work?
I grew up as a non-Christian, in a good family. My parents were school teachers and my dad was a great athlete. I possessed this performance orientation that I think a lot of leaders have. By the time I was 12, I had seven backyard jobs and two paper routes. I lent my parents $3,000 at six percent interest, and I set goals — to have a basketball scholarship and a pretty girlfriend.
“My fear was not that I would fail, but my fear was that it might be successful.”
I came to know Jesus when I was in college, through a bricklayer who was trained by the Navigators.
Years later, I moved to a church in Santa Cruz, which grew to approximately 7,000 people. We ran out of space, and a businessman put our messages on the radio. Radio expanded over the next few years until our show was on over 1,000 stations. People wanted me to take the messages and put them into books.
How did you feel about those requests when they started coming in?
I come from a background where I have a very high view of Scripture. God speaks to us and prompts us through Scripture.
When they asked me to write books, the radio and the church had grown and I was afraid. My fear was not that I would fail, but my fear was that it might be successful. I was afraid that I would somehow, very suddenly, lose my bearings.
After writing my first book, I didn’t want to sign anybody’s book because I didn’t want to be a celebrity. But when I did, people just wanted to say, “Thank you.” I thought my refusal to sign was humility, but it was really false humility.
This journey you have navigated led you to founding the organization “Living on the Edge”. What does it set out to do?
We challenge everyone to become Romans 12 Christians. That chapter shares with us five relationships: God, the world, yourself, believers and unbelievers. Then, our response is also important.
That’s the picture of a Christian who lives like a Christian. And again, it’s not perfection. I’m making progress on that journey. But it is measurable, and it’s different than “I go to church in the morning, I go to church at night, I tithe, I read the Bible a lot.”
That’s why the book is called True Spirituality. It is about Christ being formed in you, that actually is lived out in every relationship. I like that Romans 12 has 11 chapters before it, that are based on God’s grace and what Christ has done for us.
In your ministry, you deal with many high profile and influential people. Tell us how you navigate rubbing shoulders with company the world would term as “elite individuals”.
Here’s what happened – God spoke to me, “Chip, here’s what I want you to do. Every time someone comes up and says, ‘Will you sign my book?’ or ‘You changed my life,’ or ‘You saved my marriage,’ what they’re doing is thanking me, but they can’t see Me. I give grace, but it has to come through something. You’re just my PVC pipe, and it came through you and they see you. So here’s what I want you to say to them: ‘Thank you very much. I am so honored that God used me to be a part of how He changed your life.’”
“We’re just stewards.”
What He showed me was whether it’s money, fame or some level of power, we’re just stewards. We are managers of what He has entrusted to us. He made David’s name great, not for David’s sake, but for His sake. We need just to be surrendered and accept what He does.
Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians live like Christians. As a pastor, author and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways. Reaching more than a million people a week, his direct, practical teachings can be heard online and through hundreds of radio and television outlets worldwide.
This article has been adapted from Champions Vol. III.