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More pastors should follow Francis Chan’s example

Francis Chan reads the Bible and tries to do what it says. He listens to the Spirit and tries to do what Jesus did – only what he saw the Father doing. Chan’s church was growing and his books were selling – he was becoming successful, an authority and a conference speaker. And just when things we…
By Seth Barnes
Francis Chan reads the Bible and tries to do what it says. He listens to the Spirit and tries to do what Jesus did – only what he saw the Father doing. Chan’s church was growing and his books were selling – he was becoming successful, an authority and a conference speaker. And just when things were starting to sizzle, he left his position as pastor.
 
His model has stirred consternation and controversy among those who don’t see the world as he does. In the interview (see video below), Chan talks about why he left and how he deals with expectations from those in the American church who disagree with him.
 
I personally love that Chan left his church. It’s easy to elevate Christian leaders to a place God never intended them to be. Megachurch pastors can lose their prophetic edge and become trapped by a system that forces them to compromise their principles (a subject I deal with here). And even pastors of smaller churches can feel claustrophobic, the victim of unrealistic expectations.
 
Barna’s statistics show that a large majority of pastors feel dissatisfied in their roles. Pastor’s wives feel isolated. My hypothesis is that one reason they feel this way is that God has called them out of their churches to something that feels riskier, but they have said “no” to the call, feeling constrained by loyalty and lacking the courage to jump to something they can’t see. And in a way, they are no different than many of us who feel dissatisfied in our current roles, but don’t know how to follow God’s call to something we struggle to understand.
 
By following God’s call to a different platform, Chan set an example for those who feel trapped. Obedience to what the Lord is saying, especially when it’s difficult, should always be our highest priority. We need more examples that show us how to do it.
 
Chan’s not leaving his church and he’s not leaving his international platform. It’s likely that his voice calling believers back to the gospel that Jesus preached will take on even greater resonance in this new and still undefined role that he is moving into.

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