19 Apr Francis Chan Resigns Cornerstone
Popular pastor, conference speaker, and author, Francis Chan, has resigned the pastorate of the church he started 16 years ago, Cornerstone Community Church. Francis pastors in the same city I do (Simi Valley, CA), and Cornerstone is located just a mile down the street from where I pastor at NewHeart.
I’ve watched Francis grow from being a local Youth Pastor in our city to a Lead Pastor of a very large and influential church. Cornerstone is our city’s only mega-church, technically speaking.
While Francis and I have not been close, we’ve know each other, have collaborated on a couple of city-wide projects and I will always appreciate his forthright manner, laid-back style and the way he fights for what he believes is right and scriptural.
Our city has been one of those unfortunately fraught with negative pastoral transitions in our history (I pastor one of them, that has had multiple pastoral failures over the years), especially from churches that have been popular and grown to significant sizes. I am excited to see a transition take place that is NOT filled with negativity, division, pain and decline.
I applaud Francis for stepping out in faith into an unknown future for himself and his family. If you listen to the video interview at CatalystSpace.com and the message he delivered to his church on Sunday, you’ll hear a good part of his heart and the plan ahead.
Interestingly, he is going to be offering some forums in May and June for Cornerstone folks to be able to ask questions about how and why things are panning out the way they are. He foresees speaking there through the end of May to re-iterate what he believes God has laid on his heart, then fulfilling a pretty heavy speaking schedule through the Summer and Fall before he takes his family on some third world missions adventures later in the year.
What are your thoughts about such a big step of faith?
UPDATE: the below is the letter sent from Francis to Cornerstone:
For those who have not heard, this past Sunday I announced to Cornerstone Church that I will be transitioning out of my ministry in Simi Valley. It was a rough Sunday as there were many different emotions floating around the room. In short, Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faith. We believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. Every time I fly into a large city, I am struck by the sheer numbers and feel pulled to try ministering in that environment. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past weekend to hear more details. If for no other reason, my wife spoke some very powerful words that every believer needs to hear.
It has been an amazing 16 years as pastor of Cornerstone Church. When we started gathering, I doubt that any of us dared to dream that God would use this church to have such an impact on Simi Valley and the rest of the world. I think most of us were just hoping it would survive. God had bigger plans than we did. The Lord has truly shown us His grace, that we could be used as His instruments to bring glory to the name of Jesus.
The plan is that I would teach at Cornerstone through the end of May. During this time, I will be sharing the lessons most important to me. I have taught thousands of times over these years, and now I hope to re-emphasize what I see as most important. I will also be at our prayer meetings to beg our God to do even greater things in Simi after I leave. For those who have questions or just want to talk, you can catch me at the prayer meetings.
I’ll continue to write and give you more information as the Lord continues to guide the elders and me. Like I said at our services, I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.
Once again, here is my family’s rough plan for our future
April/May = speaking at Cornerstone
June/July = speaking around the U.S.
August/Sept = Praying and walking large cities to seek God’s leading.
Oct-Dec = Serving in a third world country
Jan 2011 = launch a new ministry as an extension of Cornerstone
Thanks to everyone who was a part of this amazing journey in Simi. Thanks for all the love and encouragement my family and I have received over the years.