Francis Chan has become a well loved American Pastor, speaker, and author. He was a keynote speaker at this year’s International House of Prayer sponsored “One Thing 2013” conference where he said publically that he “loves Mike Bickle.” Chan also delivered a strong Gospel centered message to the over 30,000 in attendance that was well received.
Over the next few posts, I will share why this event is significant, some points Chan made, and how the audience received the message. If you are not familiar with the International House of Prayer and Mike Bickle, you can read my recent post.
Francis Chan has become a hugely popular and influential voice in the evangelical Christian world. He started a church in California and was a Pastor for sixteen years before resigning.
According to his Wikipedia page, “Chan and his wife, Lisa, founded Cornerstone (Church) in 1994 with only 30 people. Within two months, the church had grown to 100 people, and now is one of the largest churches in Ventura County, California.
On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Chan announced to his congregation that he felt called to resign at Cornerstone in Simi Valley, CA to pursue what God had laid on his heart.”
Part of what must have laid on Chan’s heart was to tour the world and see first hand what is happening in places like India, China, and Thailand. He traveled to many undisclosed places holding low key gatherings and exhorting the churches and leadership to go after God wholeheartedly.
I met Chan while he was in Bangkok, Thailand. I captured part of a talk he gave to the New Song Church and posted it to Youtube here. Chan was invited by his friend Dave Gibbons of Xealots. At that time, I was able to speak with Chan and found him to be extremely personable and humble. He was a man who clearly loved Jesus and his family.
By June 2011 he stated publicly he felt called to San Francisco, CA. He and his family eventually moved to Northern California to work with City Impact Ministries of San Francisco. His desire was to be personally involved in street level evangelism and discipleship while also influencing people globally in the area of discipleship.
Chan has recently teamed up with the very influential Baptist Pastor and missions mobilizer, David Platt. While at Urbana 12 last year, I spoke to Platt directly and he told me that Chan was a great friend and that they were able to learn from and challenge one another often. He was excited to be working with him on the new Multiply Movement project.
In a recent Christian Post article, it was pointed out that Chan is a graduate of John MacArthur‘s seminary, The Master’s College, where he received a Master’s of Divinity. John MacArthur is an avowed anti-Charismatic and has recently denounced the vast majority of the Charismatic & Pentecostal church through his Strange Fire conference and book.
I wrote a review for the recently released book, Authentic Fire by Dr. Michael L. Brown. This book gives a much needed counter perspective to MacArthur’s Cessationist view that the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit are not for today. Though Chan is not from a Charismatic background, he has written a recent book called “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.” He is a great example of a man who loves both Spirit and Truth. It appears he has grown much through personal experience from his time at MacArthur’s seminary.
As Chan came up to speak at One Thing, he started out by humbling himself, kneeling on the platform and earnestly crying out to God for help to deliver the message.
When he recovered, he acknowledged that he had not known much about the IHOP movement but was warned by some of his colleagues to stay away from Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer. Chan decided to make his own choice and accepted the invitation to speak.
After meeting Mike Bickle, the leader of IHOP, and spending personal time with him, he said,
“Today was the first time I ever met Mike Bickle and I love that guy. I do, and Mike knows, we’ve talked about this…there’s people who told me not to hang out with him. You know, words like creepy come up, (audience laughs) and I get to know this guy and…man, I love his heart.
I just want to publicly say ‘I love Mike Bickle!”
“What does God in heaven want? He doesn’t want Mike and I to just be ok with each other. He wants us to see each other as brothers where… man, I’d give you the shirt off my back! I’ll give you whatever you need! You know, that type of love God wants from us and I know you don’t really know me and I don’t really know you. And I’m sure there are some theological differences in there somewhere, but there’s so much we agree upon.
I was reading about the fruits of the Spirit and the deeds of the flesh and how the deeds of the flesh are dissension and division and its not what God wants, but there is this love and this unity, not just a normal love, but a supernatural, by the power of the Holy Spirit love where the world will look on and say ‘I’ve never seen people love that much.'”
You can watch the whole intro here on the IHOP site.
Given Chan’s roots, it is very significant that he choose to be a speaker at the One Thing conference this year. He displayed the kind of humility and true power that is sadly lacking in the lives of many who claim to be spokesmen for God’s agenda. He did not give into the pressure of friends who had maybe heard things about IHOP from the internet, but never met any of its leaders in person. Some people have wrongly rejected the movement simply because of its Charismatic background.
Chan was confident enough to come to his own opinion by spending time getting to know the leadership and hearing from them directly. By doing this, he set a great example for other leaders who may be tempted to form their opinions based on blog posts and watch dog web sites.
In his book Authentic Fire, Michael Brown sums up my feelings well saying,
“Non-hostile cessationists will begin to connect with many non crazy charismatics, leading to mutual edification, building up the church, and even effective missions and evangelism work.”
The only way you can really know if someone is crazy or hostile is to meet with them in person. Chan set a good example for us, both in the church world and the missions world.
In the next posts, I will go through some of the content of Chan’s message to the One Thing audience and how I felt it was received.