Pastor and best-selling Christian author Francis Chan announced this week he and his family are moving to Asia in February to become international missionaries.
Chan shared the revelation while speaking at Azusa Pacific University during a weekly chapel gathering on the California campus. The “Crazy Love” author said he and his wife, Lisa, whom he marred in 1994, made the bold decision after visiting Myanmar a few months ago, where they traveled from hut to hut with a translator explaining to natives who Jesus is and what it means to be a Christian.
“These people had never even heard of him,” Chan said. “And the eagerness, the way they listened, seeing people get baptized — it was just like, ‘Wow, what do we do on a normal day that even compares to this?’”
On the airplane ride back to the U.S., Chan recalled, he told his wife he believed it was time for them to move out of the country because he’s been “fishing in the same pond my whole life and now there’s, like, thousands of other fishermen at the same pond, and our lines are getting tangled and everyone’s fighting over stupid things.”
Chan caused quite a stir in 2010, when he announced to the congregation at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley he was resigning his post as lead pastor of the church he and his wife founded the same year they were married.
They then founded the house church movement called We Are Church, which is based in Northern California, where Chan moved his family in 2013. There are more than a dozen churches today with anywhere from 10 to 20 congregants and about 30 pastors (two per home), all of whom serve bi-vocationally, meaning they aren’t financially compensated for their ministry work.
Since making the rapid decision to move his family overseas, Chan admitted he is beginning to feel a bit nostalgic about the United States. But in moments of doubt, he said, the words written by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:4 have “convicted” him. The passage reads, “We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.”
“I thought, man, I try to be too clever sometimes rather than just openly saying it, especially in this day and age,” Chan said, admitting at times he has fallen into employing seeker-friendly tactics, such as “slowly eas[ing]” congregants into understanding who God is, according to Scripture.
Far too many Christians, he argued, are “appeasing” nonbelievers, fearful of hurting their feelings. Rather, they need to be preaching the hard truths of the Bible, a book he said was once “revered” but has lost its sacred standing in society.
Chan told listeners at Azusa that people need to be taught against believing that being “good” is good enough to earn them a right standing with God.
“That is such a lie,” he said. “The Word of God says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. … It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. How are you going to twist these words?”
“If your thoughts contradict this book,” he later added, “then you need to come under his thinking.”