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The Simple Thing That Makes Francis Chan Cry

We caught up with Francis Chan to ask him about his current focus on evangelism, the biggest myth about outreach and what he’s doing to spread the Gospel in his community.  

What’s new about your ministry focus these days? 

I’m excited again. When I was in high school, I used to cry for my friends when I would think about spending eternity apart from them. When I was working in the restaurant, I used to cry over the other waiters and waitresses and pray, “God, you’ve got to save these people.”

Working in the church, I didn’t weep a whole lot for the lost. It was just kind of sporadic here and there.

Now that I’m spending so much more time building relationships with unbelievers and loving on them, there are a lot more tears, a lot more sadness, a lot more urgency. It is painful and can get depressing, and yet there’s this peace about finally going out and fishing for men.

At the same time, even though I’m crying, it’s a good sadness. I think it’s what Paul felt in Romans 9, of that unceasing anguish, the great sorrow and unceasing anguish. While it hurts, there’s also this peace that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s great that I hurt for people again.

It’s great that I actually weep for the lost. I’m not just this zombie, going about doing a job. It feels good to care so much and even hurt so much at times. So I would just really encourage people to not get too caught up in methodology or whatever else because once your heart breaks enough for people, you’ll find a way to get the message to them. 

Do you think you’re more effective in making disciples doing what you’re doing now compared to what you were doing at Cornerstone?

Making disciples is such a long process—off the top of my head, yes. The guys I’m ministering with, I’m really getting to know them at a much deeper level much more quickly. But it’s hard to take nine months of one ministry and compare to 16 years of another. You don’t really have a fair gauge.

Some of it could be excitement; it’s just new. And a lot of times, I forget how much we’d done there at Cornerstone. I had such a great, great ride there and love the people so much. I can still see the lasting fruit from it. I don’t want anyone to think, “Oh, he feels like he wasted his time there.” I did everything I could there, so let’s move on and go somewhere else.

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Brian is a writer and editor from Ohio. He works with creative and innovative people to discover the top stories, resources and trends to equip and inspire the Church.