We Can't All Be Francis Chan–Or Can We?

With only a 10 day notice, Bayside Church invited pastors for a roundtable with Francis Chan, that I attended this morning. I’m not sure how many were in attendance but there were no seats available at the tables on the floor. It was a very encouraging and challenging time. Every time I hear this man speak I wish I was walking in his shoes. Not that I don’t know who I am, or want to be like him, yet walking out a radical faith, in radical obedience, in response to a rendered heart. I’m guessing I’m not the only one, but here are some “wishes” that I think are stirring in men of God. Obviously I’m not talking about every pastor, but this guy’s courage is contagious.

1. Every Pastor wishes they could walk away from traditional ministry like Francis Chan.

After 16 years at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Francis Chan resigned his church of approximately 5,000 in 2010. Rereading his resignation letter something he wrote jumped off the page at me, “I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.” There is something about the traditional ministry that keeps us grounded in the familiar where we look to formulas instead of putting our faith in God. Like Chan many of us long for the foreign places, the places we’ve never been, where faith functions best.

2. Every Pastor wishes they could give a millions of dollars away like Francis Chan. It is widely know that Francis has donated most of his book royalties, which have totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities. Much of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries. Today, he restated the fact that “he doesn’t get a dime” and that the proceeds go to the poor and ministry. Francis Chan’s generosity bleeds through everything that he does.

3. Every Pastor wishes they could be brutally honest when they speak like Francis Chan.  After a being introduced to the crowd of pastors as a author, speaker that doesn’t let success get to his head, Francis was led by the Holy Spirit to be brutally honest how he felt when his first book, Crazy Love was blowing up. His story about struggling with success and how it did go to his head was a powerful display of honesty.

4. Every Pastor wishes they could  deal with success the way Francis Chan has. Chan contributes his handling of success to the grace of God and humility. He actually is not afraid to fall down on his knees and repent at a conference he is speaking at, or as mentioned above, go off topic to set the record straight about the way it really happened.

5. Every Pastor wishes they could survive criticism like Francis Chan.  It seems as though there have been two things that have have helped Chan survive the criticism that he has received. First, not fearing what men think and secondly understanding that he, being a prophetic voice, isn’t always going to be the popular voice.

6. Every Pastor wishes they were as funny as Francis Chan. Not only is he brutally honest, but his honesty leads to laughter. A great quality he has is the ability to laugh at himself.

7. Every Pastor wishes they were excited as Francis Chan is about the future of the church. When you are constantly focusing on where you are at, why you are there and how many were there, it’s difficult to know where the church is going. The hope in Chan’s heart comes from being able to step away from the madness of the church system, traveling to other countries and seeing what God is doing in places like China, reaching the unreached and raising up disciples.

8. Every Pastor wishes they could fail like Francis Chan.  Could you imagine growing a church to 5,000 people and then calling it a failure? Most of us would have a hard time calling that a flop, but Francis Chan said as he looks back that is when his church, Cornerstone stopped multiplying. His church plant that started with 50, then 500, stopped producing disciples at 5,000.

9. Everyone wishes they could keep it as simple as Francis Chan does. Simply put “if it’s in the book (Bible) let’s do it, let’s go for it. If it’s not, we’ve got a problem.

Is it just me, or when you hear this guy speak does it not pierce your heart?  

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Dean Deguara
I’m an encourager of leaders at all levels on this blog at deandeguara.com. My posts have been featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Smallgroupchurches.com, FaithVillage.com, and JesusCulture.com. I am currently serving as the Director of Resources at Jesus Culture in Sacramento.

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