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Francis Chan on Evangelism and Culture

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In part two of our conversation with Chan we chat about rediscovering and renewing our passion for the Gospel and for people.

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We recently caught up with Francis Chan to ask him about his current focus on evangelism and what he’s doing to spread the Gospel in his community. Below is part two of our longer conversation about evanglism, mission, and ministry. Read part one here. Also, make sure and check out the exclusive print feature in our November/December Evangelism issue.

Do you think you’re more effective in making disciples doing what you’re doing now compared to what you were doing at Cornerstone?

Making disciples is such a long process – off the top of my head, yes. The guys I’m ministering with, I’m really getting to know them at a much deeper level much more quickly. But it’s hard to take nine months of one ministry and compare to 16 years of another. You don’t really have a fair gauge. Some of it could be excitement; it’s just new.  And a lot of times, I forget how much we’d done there at Cornerstone. I had such a great, great ride there and love the people so much. I can still see the lasting fruit from it. I don’t want anyone to think, “Oh, he feels like he wasted his time there.” I did everything I could there, so let’s move on and go somewhere else.

How would you encourage leaders who are in American suburban culture – what are some questions they need to ask about their culture to make sure they’re doing all they can to reach people and make disciples?

First, everyone’s got to just look at their own lives and consider how many unbelieving friends they have. If you can count on one hand or you can’t even think of one, then you’re not even trying. You’re not even making an effort. I’d say that’s most of the people in the church. They can count on one hand the number of unbelieving friends they have. So that’s the biggest issue right there. People aren’t even trying. In the church, we make that acceptable, and it’s not acceptable. Evangelism has become this optional thing that you add on versus what Jesus did from the start. This is why I’m having you follow Me, so that you would be fishers of men. So one is the effort in saying the priority is to get myself in places where I’m interacting with unbelievers, working a job with unbelievers, a part of some sort of club, or whatever, where my vision is to build relationships with unbelievers and to share with them.

We’re naturally going to take the easiest route—it’s human nature. It’s always going to be easier to hang out with believers or people who think the same way we do. It’s always easier to make friends in the church because, like I said, they have to love you or they’re in sin. So we’re going to take that route. Do I go to a church Bible study, or do I go to this party with a bunch of people at work? I’ll go to the church Bible study. It’s going to be a lot of easier. It sounds spiritual, too. I’m going to another Bible study where I’ll learn more Scriptures I won’t apply versus I’m going to be so uncomfortable if I go to this party because I’ve got build relationships because I love these people, and I don’t want them to go to hell. That’s the other thing – it’s our level of love for people. I don’t want to make this a legalistic—everyone must have six unbelieving friends.  Don’t you just bawl your eyes out when you look at your friends at work and realize what they’re headed for? That they’re going to be rejected by God; they haven’t been forgiven. Doesn’t that kill you? The thought of where they’re going to spend eternity? Does that not bother you at all? If you love these people, why don’t you figure out a way, why don’t you just bawl your eyes out for them in prayer every night? God save these people, help these people. And want to be used by Him to go and care for them and get the Gospel to them. So that’s the other issue. We get so self-centered that we don’t even focus on – it doesn’t even hurt us anymore. We’ve become callous to the thought of people dying apart from Christ. And that’s crazy.

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