For those of you who do not know Francis Chan, he’s a godly man who is the lead pastor of Simi Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA and the author of The Forgotten God and Crazy Love. He’s an incredibly dynamic speaker who travels North America and the world preaching the bible.
Recently, he announced to his congregation that the Lord has led him to step down from his highly successful job and pastoring a large mega-church in the suburbs of Los Angeles. It was the talk of Christian circles because why would a successful pastor leading a large church leave his position? If you have heard him speak in the last few years, it’s easy to see a man willing to do whatever God asks him to do. As he and his wife and family have prayed, they believe that God the Holy Spirit is leading them away from Cornerstone to something new and the crazy thing is, he doesn’t exactly know what it’s going to be.
As I’ve thought through this the last few weeks, I went through a range of thoughts. Mainly centered around my initial thought that “every pastor should have to wrestle with what Francis is doing and consider doing the same”.
But then I had to face the music and question whether I was willing to ask the same question of myself. I think the tendency of lay leadership is to expect a higher standard of their pastors than themselves.
That means that every lay leader, including myself, should have to ask 2 questions of ourselves in light of Francis Chan’s actions.
1) Are we willing to follow God’s leading in our lives no matter what the cost? Are you willing to seek God and ask Him to lead you even if it means you have to change your life? And I’m not even talking about the big stuff yet, I’m talking about the little things. Are you willing to let God lead you to serve more in a church and sacrifice a night you could be watching Lost? Or are you willing to sacrifice your sports knowledge to spend time investing in your family or your neighbors for deeper relationship? These are small sacrifices that seem big because they’ve become part of our routine.
2) Are you willing to follow God’s leading out of your job similar to the way Francis Chan did? Now this question just seems crazy to me. It seems irresponsible and foolish.
A thousand questions rush to my mind. How you will you make a living if God leads you away from your job? Are you even in a position to do so? How will you take care of your family? It involves so much fear, and reveals so much about me. You see, I say I believe God is the one who provides for my family in every way. I say I believe that God is in control of my job situation. I say that I believe God when he says that I shouldn’t worry about provisions because He says he provides for the birds and the flowers and I am much more valuable than that.
As church-going Christians, our tendency will be to assume the radical decisions like Francis’ are something pastors have to deal with, but the reality is that all Christians by declaration of faith profess to follow God no matter what the costs or where He leads. Francis’ decision forces us to deal with what we really believe.