Some Thoughts on Francis Chan’s ‘Why I Left the Mega-Church I Created’ Video
New York Times best-selling author and former mega church pastor Francis Chan recently spoke on a myriad of different topics in a chat streamed live on Facebook. During the chat one of the topics Chan spent a lot of time on is why he left the megachurch he-founded in Southern California, to plant house churches in the San Francisco area.
The church Francis Chan left, is named Cornerstone Community Church is still a very size-able ministry in the Los Angeles area. Chan started Cornerstone in 1994 in his living room with about 50 people. The church then grew to 100, then 500 and eventually to 5000 people. Then in 2010 Chan announced that he was leaving the church to do something else. At the time, that something else wasn’t completely clear.
Chan is also the author of several books, including the New York Times’ Best Sellers Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, which came out in 2009, and most recently, You and Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity.
Being that I currently am very active in a mega-church that I serve on the Board of Deacons at in Newark, NJ, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Chan’s thoughts on the subject were of interest to me. Here’s some thoughts I had after watching it.
1. Every Church is Bigger than Just 1 Person, even the Pastor
I remember when this first happened, and Chan spoke at Legacy Conference a couple of months afterwards, I couldn’t shake the thought of him leaving the church that he started. I was like how could he do that? How could you start a church an suddenly just abandon it?
7 years later though, looking back on it, it appears that the church is still striving and he has started another ministry that seems to be striving in its own right. In my opinion, that’s great. It shows us that Cornerstone wasn’t really all about Chan.
2. Many Pastors are under tremendous pressure to maintain their Churches
From 5:48 to 6:42, in the video, Chan makes the analogy of shepherding people being similar to bringing home your first child and trying to figure out how to care for the child/ those you are entrusted with spiritually. At the end of the thought, he says, “We’re all in this thing together, instead of just one guy trying to teach everyone.”
Think on that for a minute. THat’s a lot of pressure and its pressure that most Pastor’s face day in and day out: My sermon has to be great this week. I have to visit this person in the hospital. Did we bring in enough to pay the bills this month? Is our attendance growing?
There have been a lot of studies and think pieces done on why Pastor’s are committing suicide in record number. These pressures are part of it. Having to be on point at all times is very hard when you are trying to lead 5000 people. We must pray for our Pastors.
3. Church’s must train and empower its members to get involved
There’s an old saying that goes 20% of the people do 80% of the work at church. I really don’t know how accurate that is, but it shouldn’t be a stereotype or anywhere close to reality.
God has given all of us gifts and talents and those gifts and talents should be used to being Him glory and help build the kingdom of God. Whether its teaching, administration, music, video editing, counseling, intercessory prayer or cooking, there is something that all of us can do to help our local churches. Church leadership has to figure out how to identify people’s gifts and talents and train and train its members to serve in the church. Based on what Chan is saying in the video, he may have found a system that is now working for him.
What were you’re thoughts on the video. Please share them with me in the comments below!