learning from Francis Chan

18 11 2010

Leaders who are not afraid to ask tough questions inspire me.

A healthy amount of being transparent in following Jesus is all too rare.

Francis Chan seems to be this sort of leader. See his message “Luke Warm and Loving It.”

When you know it’s time for a change, you know.

Thankfully Francis Chan is being honest about his journey. He’s not waiting until he has it all figured out to produce a slick professional web site and print work. He’s decided to be open about the fact that God is leading him away from life in suburbs to serving the poor in the city of LA.

Francis Chan isn’t hitting the eject button on God’s idea of church. He’s simply stepping out of his role as Senior Pastor of Cornerstone at Simi Valley.

Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, and Josh Harris were tasked with discussing a different topic, but ended up discussing Francis’ move.

Sounds like he’s doing this in a responsible way. There’s qualified eldership in place overseeing the church. There’s a qualified pastor taking his spot. He’s going to continue to serve as a volunteer elder.

Seems like some people have mistaken his honest pursuit of God’s will for giving up on church. I don’t hear that from him at all.

Unfortunately, some of us have a wrong idea of spiritual leadership. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible a Rock Star Senior Pastor…or a job description that is an ultimate destination.

Instead, the example of Jesus, is one of servant leadership. I believe that a more common sense Bible based idea would be that:

  • God created each of us unique.
  • Each of us have an opportunity to serve where we are today.
  • Over time we may serve in different capacities.
  • A job description does not equal personal worth.

If you follow the narrative story of the life of any number of leaders in the Bible you will watch them serve in different capacities. Peter and Paul were church planters (and our understanding of senior pastors, or “chief among equals” elders) in a few different situations. You will find them serving in different roles. Regardless of which job description they had at the time – they were working to serve Jesus and build the church to advance the kingdom of God.

Someone once described me like a Leatherman tool:

because over time I served the church in several different ways. I just believe that it doesn’t matter what the role is…you see a need and meet it. Of course, each job description may have a unique impact.

As a fourth generation pastor, I cannot believe that the role my grandfather plays today (serving the “seniors” of our church) is more or less important to God than the years he spent as a senior pastor.

The truth is that we serve at the pleasure of King Jesus. When He wants us to move on, we move on.

There is no job description that is an end destination. By the grace of God, and only through the miracle of the saving grace of our God, we serve Jesus on this earth and hope that some day we hear, “well done”.

Grandpa Leif says to me, “know your calling, don’t go above it and don’t go beneath it.”

Here’s to a simple life of following Jesus – where and when He directs us.


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One response

20 11 2010
Glenda Malmin

Serving, surrendering to, and obeying Jesus is the ultimate. I think we’ll have a transformed perspective when we stand before Him.




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