Francis Went First

Last year, Francis Chan left the Southern California megachurch that he planted for reasons that weren’t clear to anybody (including Francis). Last Fall, he announced that he and his family were heading to Asia to visit the churches there and to get an idea of what God is doing around the world.

Mark Driscoll thinks Francis is crazy for walking away from his Cornerstone. Francis says he left his church because he wants to live a life that fits in the context of the Bible. His point is that leaving a healthy ministry and the comforts of home in order to be part of what God is doing is a relatively tame move in light of scripture. He jokes about how his life would fit into the New Testament: “James, killed. Peter, imprisoned. Francis goes to Asia.”

I’m proud of Francis and his family. Not because we need to seek out suffering. Not because we’re in a race to see who can “give up the most for Jesus.” But because they have stepped out in radical obedience, even when others didn’t understand.

Francis didn’t want his church to depend on him. He didn’t want his audience to think that planting a church in an affluent suburb was the standard of success. But now, more than ever, I wish they would imitate him. As a prominent pastor in the U.S., Francis is doing something that others should consider. Rather than building a kingdom, why not plant and move on? Why not leave what you’ve built in order to have your worldview influenced by first-hand accounts of what God is doing outside your cultural context? Why not venture out beyond a short-term mission trip to allow believers from other parts of the world to influence your perspective on faith, church, culture, money, and life?

Francis didn’t do anything crazy, he just went first.

Who’s next?

5 thoughts on “Francis Went First

  1. Well said. As a member of Cornerstone, I just wanted to let you know that I think you’ve communicated the true heart and motivation for what Francis is doing. I’ve noticed a lot of skepticism, especially from other pastors. It’s been frustrating and comical at times to hear other people’s interpretation of what’s going on. Time will show the impact. There are also a lot more of us who have been motivated to go, and for very good reasons. Not to escape, but to expand the work the needs to be done all around the earth. Thanks for having discernment and for being an encouraging voice on this issue.

  2. David,
    It’s funny- missionaries on the field are so excited about what Francis is doing. They don’t think he’s crazy, they’re proud of him and excited that others may follow his lead.
    Thanks for reading.

  3. I had not heard that Francis did this either. Very exciting. My daughter had recommended one of his books recently and I passed because I distrust mega-church pastors. Clearly, I should read his books!

  4. Strider,
    Francis is a great speaker who writes. His book Crazy Love is good, but try to hear him preach if you can.

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