Francis Chan: Why It's So Easy for Leaders to Fake It

Like Us

Francis Chan: Public passion should never exceed private devotion.

I wonder if the inconsistency in my walk with God has anything to do with the fact that I can lead a “successful” church in America without being in love with Jesus.

I’m sure I could blame American church culture, my position or a busy schedule for my lack of reverent intimacy. The truth, however, is that my sin and hypocrisy are a result of me.

I forget to love God.

It’s not like I don’t want to. In fact, when I’m deeply in prayer, it’s clear to me that there’s no place I’d rather be. I know that I love God. When I sit and think about Him, I’m filled with intense feelings of adoration. I’m convinced that He means more to me than my wife, kids or anyone else on the planet. I just forget to love Him.

We can argue that we’re busy doing ministry, which is how we express our love. But if that’s all God wanted, His words to the Ephesians in Revelation 2 would make no sense.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary.” (NIV)

God recognizes the Ephesian church for their wonderful ministry. Yet He makes it clear in the next verse that they are not loving Him. He tells them, “You have forsaken your first love.

What has always surprised me about that passage is God’s threat to remove them if they don’t start loving Him again. “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

God tells the hard working, sin hating, doctrine loving, persecuted church that He doesn’t want them around unless they love Him. He’s never been interested in unloving children. His desire has always been love. It was the great command in the Old Testament and the New (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37). Love was supposed to be the catalyst of all godly action.

When is the last time you came alone before your Father just to enjoy Him? If it has been a while, don’t waste your time reading this article. Get alone and adore Him. Pray that you would no longer merely love Him through your religious actions, but with the passion befitting a person in love.

When I first fell in love with my wife, I never “forgot” to call her or spend time with her. Rarely, if ever, did she get crowded out because I was so “busy.”

Francis Chan Francis Chan is an author and church leader, formerly the pastor of Cornerstorne Church in Simi Valley, California. Chan has authored two books, Crazy Love & Forgotten God. He is also the founder of Eternity Bible College and sits on the board of directors of Children's Hunger Fund and World Impact. Francis lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.

More from Francis Chan or visit Francis at

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
  • Margrett

    WOW….very insightful brought to mind many questions and reminders of what God expects from us and what we THINK God expects from us. Especially when we begin to believe our on hype.

  • Mike

    Francis… Thank you for this challenge. Thank you for the reminder that it's not about me, but it's about God.

  • Francis

    Dear Pastor Chan,
    I have listened to many of your videos and spend a little time reading some of your material.  You have the right attitude, an attitude of humility before the word of God.  I appreciate your honesty in this article and I can relate.  It’s impossible to lead a congregation without God’s passion in our heart – it is simply impossible.  I especially appreciated your comment: “Trading the truth for a lie doesn’t benefit you or any person you are leading.”  
    As a seventh day adventist pastor, I wrestle with the challenge that is set before me when it comes to biblical truth.  Most evangelicals will peg us as “fanatical or legalists”, but the more I spend time with individuals who are searching for Christ, the more I am faced with one undeniable fact – truth shall set you free.  I am realizing that truth is such an important component.  Not for the sake of salvation, but for the sake of freedom here on earth.  I listened to your promotional video on Hell, where you are talking about your upcoming book – you have no idea what the biblical truth about hell has done to so many who have come to me with confusion on this concept.  The truth about God’s character is what is under judgement at this time and we have the privilege to let them see who their Father really is.
    God bless.


  • David

    Hello my seventh day adventist brother! I’m a pastor of a non-denominational Church (I don’t even like that label btw) and always admired the balanced teachings of your denomination on the subject of hell which I mostly agree with. 
    I really loved the article and felt personally challenged. However, I made a commitment when I first started pastoring which was, “I will never say our Church is not growing because I preach the Word without compromise”. I understand where the author is coming from but at the same time a healthy Church will grow. Jesus was not a pastor of a local Church and His earthly ministry needs to be “rightly divided”. He wasn’t trying to build and healthy local Church but was laying the foundation to do so after He completed His mission.

    The early Church is our example for a New Testament Church and it was a thriving Church that didn’t sugarcoat the Word . . . ask Aninias and Sapphira.

    There will be some who will not want to hear solid doctrine but if we present it right there will be more who will stay than leave. I just never want to use “I preach tough like Jesus” as an excuse for non growth. Healthy growth is not an indication of compromised teaching by definition. Growth as result from preaching only want people want to hear is by definition not healthy.

    Don’t mean to split hair, I just don’t want to fall into the trap of attributing a decrease in attendance to “good preaching” when it may be a smokescreen blocking out the things I really should improve on.

    Again, loved the article, very challenging for pastors and those of us blowing and going in ministry. Thanks Francis Chan.  

    •!/crazydays44 crazydays4444

      You must not know brother chan very well, as you began greeting him as a pastor of a certain denomination “Hello my seventh day adventist brother!” (Quoted) I also believe that the non-denominationals are quite a strong denomination. So, it just concerned me with your oppening greeting, and the tone of your comment. If I am wrong, do explain your goal you desired to be conveyed in your posting. Thank you

      • Teejey

        Hi david was not calling Chan a 7th day.H e was responding to someone who has put his comments whose denomination is 7th day

        •!/crazydays44 crazydays4444

          Thank you for clearing that up. I was quite confused as you saw with the opening greeting… may you brother (i don’t think ur my sister just due to ur name). Sorry if wrong. But again, thank you brother fortaking the time, and may you produce fruit that lasts for God’s Glory today, in Christ Jesus!

  • Old n’ Rich

    Pretty decent little essay.  You know, Francis, it is strangely refreshing to have a man who has been so widely read and accepted come out and engage in the kind of confession that you’ve brought forward in this article. 

    We pastor other Christians while being fully encased in our personal weaknesses; carrying which, we continue to mount the speaker’s platform, presume to manage, and sit in the counselor’s chair day after day, week after week, weak.  We are always weak.  He is always strong.  We err presuming that when we are feeling strong, that we actually are strong enough to manage the people and the work at hand.  The enemy and the flesh delight to interpret such fragile circumstances as a sunny day, a full sanctuary, a clever sermon, a lack of current conflicts, or a full offering plate (not necessarily in that order), as success worthy of the pastor’s satisfaction and self-pleasing rest.  Rest? – Yes, in a humble sabbath of repentance and worship.  Self? – only bound to the Cross and Galatians 2:20. 

    The poor and tiresome error which your essay termed “following the people I lead” (or the culture around us, for that matter) is that we “professional” Senior or Lead Pastors ( and staff when we have any) are likely to be “deformed” from the calling to be shepherds (leading a flock to good pasture by loving relationship), down to the relentless urgency of drovers (consumed with a process that ends with the herd being sold for their meat and hides at some prairie rail-head).  The practice of being volume-drovers of a herd of attenders is not sustainable where the soul of the Pastor is concerned.   Being a shepherd, if one lives a lifestyle of repentance unto, reliance upon, and worshipful adoration of the Good Shepherd, is sustainable. 

    O Lord Jesus, thank you for leading Francis into this transparency and the example he submits to being in this article.  Good Shepherd and Great Physician, deliver us from the false hope of largess, the false pride of self-sufficiency, and the deception of strength-by-comparison (smaller or larger).  Keep us from engaging with people as though we are carefully playing a hand of poker –  bluffing, though bleeding. How vain the attempt to keep our wretched hearts hidden, hoping to give the clever impression to the folks that we are holding a winning hand.  We pastors can never be the strength of Your Church – only You.  Show Your apprentices, how to work with You, the only Builder of Your body and bride.  You are our Healer, and we submit to Your examination and Your treatment, with open hearts renewed by the joy of Your presence.  All praise to You. 

  • jordan103

    You have missed it Francis Chan,and you are missing out……I think you truly haven’t had a revelation of God’s Love and when you do, you will live in the overflow of His Amazing Love…..
    That’s what Paul Prayed the Ephesians would have in chapter 3: 19 to know ( have revelation of) the love of Christ which passed knowledge,that you may be filled with all the fullness of God——if you want the fullness of God ( His very nature flowing out of you ) you need a bigger revelation of His Love.
    Paul Prayers v 18 ” may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and the length and depth and height……
    When you talk about the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:4 forsaking their first Love, saying they needed to love God more, it was the other way round, they had forgotten His Love for them….
    I am quoting from a article by Paul Ellis (because he can say it so much better than me)
    “For those who equate “love ” for “works” it’s obvous that the Ephesians had lost their zeal. Perhaps their prayer meetings were lifeless. Perhaps they went about their  works of service without any real enthusiam. Sadly it’s not hard to find churches like this today.
    The usual remedy is that churches like this need to straighten up and fly right, They need to confess their sin of apathy, repent and get earnest for Jesus.If they don’t bad things are going to happen. Lampstands will be removed. Preach a message like this and soon the church will be back out on the street witnessing as if their lives depended on it. However,they will be zealous but joyless. They will be earnest, but fruitless. And in a year or two they will be worn out and lifeless once again.

    No the real problem with the Ephesians was that they had lost something of their understanding of God’s love for them. They had forgotten that they were BELOVED SONS of God. They were a busy church but their works were based on their love FOR God rather than His love for them.

    From this we can conclude that the Ephesians were a hard-working ,non-loving church.That sounds a lot like a church that’s coming back under law. They may have started out with grace but they are now trying to attain their goal by human effort.
    WE are called to be shining exhibits of God’s GRACE, NOT tarnished testimonies of human effort. Like the Ephesians we need to do the work of God which is ” believe in the one he has sent JOHN 6V29
    and that is also the same for the Laodicea church too, they were mixing works(law) and grace, the hot-Grace, cold-law, better to be cold, at lest you would come to the end of yourself, than mixing the law and Grace, that is what Jesus would spit out of His mouth…
    This world needs to hear the true Message of Grace, God loves this world so much that He sent His only son to died on a Cross. to take the sins of the whole World, he has done a finished Work. We should be dancing for Joy, we have such a hope to share to this world from the overflow of a heart filled with HIS LOVE FOR US.

    • Iluminado

      Jordon 103 your interpretation of those verses has more twist and turns then a California high way, Its very clear what John wrote in Revelations no need to try to change its meaning its crystal clear

      • jordan103

        thank-you IIuminado for likening my comments to a California High Way (haha loved it ) we have English roads with twists and turns too, and I understand you reading it that way as i think i was giving an overall comment on many of the articles of Francis Chan, who when reading them preaches a very performance base Christianity. He preaches so often about us loving God more and doing rather than being grounded and rooted in His Love and just entering in His rest and allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through us.
        We have to remember it is always about HIs ( Jesus ) worthiness not ours, it is about His Finished Work on the Cross and knowing His Blood is enough. Thats Grace and not Works and He ( Jesus ) is Grace Himself. Praise His wonderful Name, and everything in God’s Word when we read it needs to line up with the Finished Work on the Cross, thats the plumb line, we can only boast of Christ Crucified, the world need to know what a wonder Saviour we have

        • dave

          jordan 103. Its never about our worthiness, for we will never have any except through Gods presence in us, through the Holy Spirit. What it is about, is gratitude for all he has done for us. His love for us is so great how can we not respond to him with anything less then our own love. Of course our love is very weak, but His Spirits presence in our heart, strengths and enlarges our heart, and fills our heart with His love. We then respond with His love, to the circumstances around us, causing us to perform good works for Him. Our love and devotion for Him allows us to be used by Him to bless others, or bear fruit. Revelation 2:4 states that “they left” not forgot their first love, this is further reinforced and plainly understood in lite of other scripture. Matt. 27:37-40. Mark 12:29-31. Luke10:27. Matt.10:37. John 14:21-24. 1st John 4:8 & 16 & 20. Our relationship with God is solely base on love, 1st His for us, but He loves everyone, even the unsaved. Its our love for Him that brings us into a saved relationship with Him. By the way love is not a works but rather a response.

  • ephremhagos

    Leaders who do not have firsthand and sustainable knowledge of Jesus Christ, as divinely revealed in his death on the cross, will keep on faking the truth until they burn out sooner than later.

  • Oyewole AYO

    Wow!nthis is extreme Execllect. Kudos for a great piece.

  • ePHraimAg

    Does Your Spirit sense 0ppression, THat which is Given Freely is mis-understood. Reckon One can for example….Take a Man from The Baptist Church and put Him in a Charismatic/Pentecostal Church, but can ONE take the Baptist Out Of The Man. No, They stifle The Spirit Of God and thus prove themselves To Be fake. Maybe That Leader thinks He knowns Best, but in The end, He has shut up His Heart and His ears. Fake, Leadership with no idea Of injustices. O, Solomon, what ever Your Baby is, Your Division is a selfish Ward in Your Own Court and a Loss Of a Kings’ Wisdom.

  • Chet

    Some reasons that pastors can so easily “fake it”

    1. substantial blocks of time alone
    2. not accountable to others
    3. people defer to them

    We need to encourage pastors, letting them know that we are on their team, helping them to choose to fill in these gaps.


    This awesome and true,Thanx.

  • Ed Fernandez

    Thanks for the reminder, Francis. I recently posted an article on my blog which I also shared with my theologian and/or pastor friends. The article is critical of the teachers of the law who, like their Pharisee friends, were hypocrites. Having read your article here, I reminded my friends with the following and provided a link to this article: We may be critical of the hypocrisy of the teachers of the law (and the Pharisees)–and we should be– but let’s not be too harsh on them or the people we think are like them because we, too, can fake it.

    Here’s the link to my blog (Following Jesus: A Risky Business):

  • sinner saved by grace

    Its affirming to hear a leader confess like that. I pray that similar conviction falls heavy on the church at large and similar confession becomes the order of the day rather than the exception.



  •!/crazydays44 crazydays4444

    I repect brother chan for his honest approach to a subject that most comfortable congregations would not touch/teach witha “ten-foot pole”.. He has been a pastor that has grown, just as fast as Christ has been formed in him. Many label his doctrine/teaching of a works, yet I don’t see that. Before you say, “I must also be the same if blinded to the obvious works based salvation”. Hey, label me as you will. I am with my brother on this journey. We are so very saved by grace, it is a no brainer to a man as myself (who had a Very Large sin debt forgiven/pardoned), thus my level of love is so very high for Jesus it engulfs every thought and action. I have had dry times, even a time when so frustrated with man’s doctrines that I went into a time of sin. It was on my return to The Cross Alone, and brokeness, that God has opened up so much scripture and revelation of scripture I stuggled with for years. (In Context!) And God will make All things work for good to those who love God and are “called” according to His purpose. (Sadly I hear so many people, even christians using this verse for those who don’t love God).. Maybe they will, but lets apply scripture and promises in accordance to God’s Word…. In conclusion of my 2 cents worth of a reply, I agree that after we are undoubtedly saved by the very witness of The Holy Spirit inside us, sealing us, and having an understanding that it is only by the finished Work of Jesus Christ we are adopted~ it is then that God will use us as His very vessels for His wormanship and good works/deeds “pre-ordained” before we even responded to The Holy Spirit!… That is not “works salvation”, that is the plan of salvation, and the plan of the saved person when they are born-again. God’s Will be done. As much “work” lays ahead for so many of us! In the very heart of Luke 17:10!…. and Luke 9:23… These verses don’t contradict John 3:16-17, but clarify them!…. In Christ, and may it always be just Christ that anything come from me, and when not (disciplined by God)!….

  • Mark Waters

    Just his writing this and your posting it tells us that you are both soooo humble and very mildly guilty of this. I no longer trust ANYONE capitalizing on preaching/praying/teaching/writing in the name of the Lord Jesus. You CANNOT serve God and money . . . yep, Jesus said it and we’ve found a million ways around it, but it’s still true.

  • Bhojraj Bhatta

    I have always enjoyed Francis’ honesty, but after reading this article, I fear that he is going a bit far into mysticism than a genuine relationship with the Lord. A Pastor may go through rough patches in life and ministry, a pastor may stand before his people against his will and preach a sermon that he or she would rather not may not be so much from a desire to fake but from the compelling call of God. These men and women of God know how much they love God and yet in their humanity they find themselves not worthy but the love of God that envelops them, the good shepherd who stands with them continues to woo them into the the kind of ministry he has called them. So, to label that as faking would be to do great disservice to men and women who are willing to obey the Lord even out of their failures and brokenness. The thing that makes them worthy of doing what they do is not because of their moral perfection or mystical journeys into the unknown but the Cross and the Resurrection power of Christ.
    The other thing that disturbs me is the idea that these pastors don’t love of God. Yes, a few here and there might have ulterior motives of being in the ministry (they will do whatever makes profit for them), but I am of the view that if a person does not love God, he or she would never venture into the pastoral ministry. Love of God is such that we all have our own special ways of connecting with it. In fact, there is little we can do to love God; it is God who loves us and we only respond to his loving embrace. We can only bask in his love. But Francis somehow implies that we can do something to love God; that indicates he is thinking in terms of mystical approach to God where you do something that leads you into his love. Loving God ought to be an attitude of the heart, a posture of surrender even in the most demanding hour of the day…but if I am correct, Francis wants to stop and go after in finding the Love of God.
    Thirdly, Francis tells us that if we preach the genuine word of God, churches will stop growing…this is I think based upon his personal example based upon a seeker sensitive church once he attempted to establish. Surely if you change all of sudden, those who were there for meeting human needs will be turned away. But if you truly speak from the heart of God, people will flock to you and they will give ears. It is questionable to say that Jesus would have a smaller church than some of us today…no my friend, if Jesus steps into human scene, you will be amazed to see how much humanity is hungry for his word. His bitter words would taste like Honey to this life starving world. So, my brother, I love you and I pray for you but hope that you don’t misunderstand a genuine relationship with God (that is capable of accommodating all our faking, weaknesses, and hypocrisy) with something of a mystical journey into the dark world of religiosity or moral perfection. Ultimately every heart that has come in touch with the love of God knows “if not by the grace of God” there would be no hope.

    • Mike

      Very well said! I think Chan’s overall point is spot-on – we Do need to be actively pursuing an intimate relationship with the Lord; we should be strive to maintain that passionate intimacy with Him. However, I see the same sentiments regarding “love” over and over again: Biblical love is not some mushy, feel-good emotion, though it can express itself that way. I agree with you completely, it is, and I can’t say it any better than you did, “an attitude of the heart, a posture of surrender even in the most demanding hour of the day.” I can love my wife without feeling the “warm-and-fuzzies” all the time. So there may be times when I don’t “feel” it on Sunday morning, though I know my commitment and attitude are very much showing I love Jesus.

  • Anon

    As one who did fake it for multiple years before leaving the ministry, I found it scary how easy it was for me to fool others into thinking I was a good pastor when I was no longer a Christian. I finally left because I couldn’t live with my own hypocrisy, but a harder heart than mine might have continued on, preaching and leading a congregation in a total state of doubt or atheism. That’s what I was doing for 5 years.

    • crazydays4444

      at least your honest. And it is very scary (even if you have departed from the faith) the world around us is so easily decieved… You throw a bunch of emotion-based people seeking a gift from God somehow, and you have them eating out of the palm of your hands… This is sad. It means many “church-goers” don’t hear the Shepherd’s Voice. For some of us, we would have picked up on it in about a month… sadly you led an ignorant flock of heeding the pastor “above” Christ. And this is not just your occasion of naive folks following your leading. As me (a born-again believer) would discern by the Spirit of God inside me bearing witness of you being genuine or not. Hence I don’t frequent many building’s “called church!”… But amen for you doing the correct action in this case! Infact, your judgment will be less or possibly you could “could emphasis”! Return as a prodigal?… Either way, 95% of sunday church-goers would be amazed at the amount of “uncalled pastors they slick up every word of!”… Seminary, or study of God’s Word, or anything other that God placing a pasion that can not be quenched unless you are obedient to being called BY GOD’ folks… To take the role of a pastor… As many, are not called to be teacher’s (pastors teach!).. by God, but men and self!.. Thus “the verse” of a greater and more intence judgement of, a “teacher of God’s Word” is to be taken seriously!… God’s Will be done! ( I say this not just for your reply Anon’, but for many who may read!….

  • Daniel Wong

    How does being a disciple fit into being a Christian going to heaven? Will a person who Believes in his heart that Jesus is Lord and Saviour but has decided to not be a disciple because its too costly, go to heaven? Or one who tries to be a disciple but does not succeed end up in heaven? That person is yoked to Jesus and is going along that path to discipleship but dies along that path. Is he going to heaven?

    • Brian

      To answer your question, the first isn’t really even a Christian. You CANNOT accept Jesus and Savior, and reject Him as LORD. They both go together. So to reject discipleship as “too hard or costly”, is the same as rejecting Christ.
      But the second has the desire and the heart. They just are not perfect yet. That’s OK, because neither are any of us…we are all on that journey.

  • Daril Lee Lev

    Pastors are supposed to be the Sheppard teaching the sheep. I can’t count the number of churches I have been to where pastors either preach about tithing. or have a short fill I the blanks self help sermon. I want to learn about Jesus! Many repeat the same songs every week and no body really gets to know you outside of the church. I quit going and sleep in on Sundays now

  • Tevita

    Thank you Francis for your honesty, I am one who can identify with that. There are times when we as leaders in the church do the “right things” and say the “right words” BUT our intimacy with our Heavenly Father is actually ‘cold’ and inconsistent. Yes, I fully agree with you that all we need to do is to take corrective measures. We must go back to the basics. It will mean self denial with regard to time and comfort, It calls for a consistent sacrificial life in our own personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, every single day !!!


  • balasamson

    Pastor! It was a good message! Let us come out of this ‘increase’ syndrome please! When there is ‘more’ of God on the inside, we people get to read such ‘meaty’ messages

  • Rosa

    Thanks. This message is so appropriate in this season where the success of a ministry is measured by the size of the congregation and not on how committed we are to the gospel that Christ called us to preach. Prosperity teachers and motivational speakers have taken over the pulpit using it to fill their pews. Jesus is coming soon and judgement will begin from the church.

  • Moi Ra

    Wow, way 2 Go! Simple honesty. God will honour U 4 this.

    I’m pretty annoyed with the Ministers in my Family who practice shunning of ME with pride in their proclamations. Its Sunday Morning and they will be doing their thing which to ME is fake unfortunately. Its shameful too. Really shamefull.

    My Father would be devastated and this breaks my heart and cripples ME. I know I have 2 stop making excuses for my own silence and start sharing. I need 2 because my life depends on it. I can’t live like this anymore, with this shame anymore, with this fear anymore, with this pain anymore. It is 2 much, all of the time. I have provided them with so many options and yet they take none. I have used the biblical principles I was raised with and which they preach but there is still silence.

    They stand strong in their positions yet they refuse to share with ME how it is they arrived at them. Its not ok. My cousin is in the middle of a church build and a multi million dollar campaign. Even his campaign leader thinks its all cool and its a private family matter. Its unbelievable really. I guess if they are all so ‘ok’ with this, then nobody need mind me sharing what my perspective is.

    My brother in law, also a minister; his words “you’re not a baby, you don’t need your mama” resonate in my head, but more, my heart. For five years they have filled my Mothers head with a load of crap and its wrong to manipulate someones mind when their mind is affected by Alzheimers. It is flat out wrong. Do they really think her heart feels nothing in relation to what is going on in her head!

    As for my sister and her Christian Ministry to women and those on a journey involving Cancer, I see nothing of her putting 2 practice what she preached in her ‘Come as You Are’ series. This is retreat weekend and I wonder is she there? Is my Mother? is Jen, the supervisor who doesn’t know her! They won’t tell me anything about her health either and so I know not how far she is in to this horrific disease process; I hope she can still understand some things and I hope she can’t understand some things.

    I’m going to do what I need to do 2 be real, 2 survive this psychological torture my family are levelling at me, in the name of God and Christianity while they preach from their pulpits!

    2 Js quote Charles Swindoll: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

  • Moi Ra

    I just want to clarify that my family practice shunning and pastors working with them and who have worked with them or are pastoring them approve! For five years they have shunned me and will not tell me why or accept my appologies for everything and anything. It is unimaginable. My Father was a Pastor, not a Preacher, nothing fake with Albert. He was Real. I miss him. He saved the lives, literally of many, and he took much for many too… and his daughter who he loved dearly, gets nothing. Not even an explanation. Sorry, my heart is breaking and I’m angry today on Sunday. Talk about evangelism, some say, if you don’t come to this church, we don’t need to help you. Imagine. Tough Love they call it. Welcome to it.

    • Guest

      Moi Ra, I am sorry that this is the position that your father has taken. I won’t attempt to explain, justify, or even address His stance, but I pray that the healing virtue of Jesus Christ will invade your heart. May the love of our forgiving, all-knowing, ever-redeeming Father surround you and show you the love that you are missing with your earthly father. Not that you have done everything right, but God forgives when you ask Him to and does not hold it against you. Forgive your earthly father and accept the love of your heavenly Father. Psalms 27:10 says “though my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will receive me”(NIV). Blessings to you!

  • Bernie Kaufman

    This is spot on, Francis. As I read this, I am aware that I often follow when I should be leading. Praise God for the reminder!

  • John Daly

    As the old Batman series would say BAM! POW! Right between my eyes!!

  • TRMahaffey

    Thanks… I needed that.

  • Terry

    This is a reality statement! I think most fall into it. The church is so numbers driven and personality seeking that we’ve missed the truth. Good word!

  • The Truth is real

    The truth is that Pastors get rewarded for faking it. The followers want to follow someone who teaches them that God is a “Heavenly sweetheart”. They don’t want to be called to a love affair with Jesus that calls for denial,sacrifice and persecution. So when the pastor glows and flows with the ways of the world he wins the popularity contest and he is revered as a good mr fixit, entertainment co-ordinator and happy harry.
    Thanks Francis for a Godly word.

  • Wes

    There is a lot of truth in this article but it sounds kind of fatalistic. 1. If Jesus was a Pastor, it would be bigger than Francis Chan’s church. Jesus’s does have bigger churches in Simi Valley. 2. Its not the Pastor’s job to weed out the church. This is God’s job. The pastor’s job is to preach the truth. It doesn’t sound like He is happy unless he is suffering or unsuccessful. There are times for suffering and there are seasons of growth and joy. 3. We need to be patient with people. We need to think of their next steps as Christians and help them take that next step. People who go to church want God in their lives. Its the pastors job to study his people and gracefully instruct them. I do not think most people think their pastor is on par with Jesus. Most pastors that I know might struggle with pride, but none have ever compared themselves to God. Most pastors I know love God and love people.

  • Jim

    Great reminder. As Pastors we fall in love with our denomination and responsibility while forgetting that we should be driven by the love of God not the system.

  • Ron

    Francis I have always loved your teaching, humility, honesty, & transparency. These words find me right where I am. I see me through out these pages. My question is, what is the solution to fixing this problem. One of the things I consistently try to do with my congregation is, if I present a problem, issue, or challenge, I also want to present a solution. Not a general “do better” statement, a solution with practical, applicable steps… There is little point in telling me I’m lost yet not point me in the right direction to my deeply sought after destination. So Francis, what do I do to fix this problem?

  • GarySweeten

    I have counseled Burned Out Ministers for several decades and your rant is one evidence of why they are burned out. When convicted they have no Jesus that says, ” Come unto me all who are weary and I will give you rest” but a vindictive Jesus ready to spew them out. Beat yourself and others up and call for a greater commitment so the bar B Q is hotter. Of course those ripped apart by false guilt and shame will join the condemnation chorus.

    • Kim

      Mr. Sweeten, I’m disappointed that you would call his post a “rant”. I have considered myself on the verge of “burn out” but not one time did I read “false guilt or shame” into this article. I needed this gentle reminder to work on my passion for Christ – it’s not that that “burns me out” it’s the Pharisees in the pews and in leadership that rips me apart. As a Pastor’s wife and Worship Pastor I know that He gives me rest. This isn’t about burned-out leadership it’s about staying in LOVE with He who called us to lead.

  • Brandon Jamison

    Francis…I generally love your teaching! but here, I take some issue. For much of what you say, I do agree. But, it is impossible to be at a level 10 with God ALL the time. And if we expect that from ourselves, then our relationship with God becomes about what we are doing rather than His grace. It’s possible for us to be spending time with God everyday (praying, studying, etc…), but still feel kinda far away…for whatever reasons. Does this mean we should not try to be passionate on Sunday morning. No matter how we FEEL, we still KNOW who God is and what He has done…and that is worth getting passionate about, even if we’re not totally there emotionally. It’s not faking it…at least I don’t see it that way. In fact I think it’s something you could use to relate with people. Tell them about it…and tell them why you choose to still get up and speak so boldly about an amazing, loving, grace-ful God. I just think you must be careful expecting so much from yourself, and forget to accept the grace of God.

    • Kim

      I’ve tried to type a reply to you, 3 times and all I can say is, I disagree with you. I wept when I read this article. I am a Pastor’s wife and a Worship Pastor. I’ve been in ministry 30 years and I know when passion is no longer passion and I can fake it! When I speak I want it to come from my heart and be heart felt. I believe in God’s grace, I’m a recipient of that however, I also know that when you’re passionate about someone or something it will flow from you firmly, lovingly and won’t have to be decorated with humor, great songs, flashing lights, hi-tech power point or cool clothes. It’s Christ within who drives passion. We need to expect more out of us – “where much is given, much is required.”

    • Jason

      Brandon, I find it impossible to do ministry, to lead my family, and to love others without spending time with God EVERYDAY.

    • Ionut Dura

      I like your comment

  • Esther

    I’m shocked to read this because i was preaching for the first time (ever) at r church last saturday n this was what God told me to preach…..Christianity is not all about do’s n don’t but it’s about having an intimacy relationship with God….we often missed out on nurturing our relationship with God while getting so busy with r ministries..,,,,

  • Peter Eng

    Thank you for your message. I need it. The call to greater devotion to God is a much needed call. As a pastor, one of my greatest failings must be my forgetting to love God.

  • jordan103

    It’s not about us loving Jesus, it is about knowing His love for us, the bigger the revelation on His love the more we will naturally flow in that Love, otherwise it becomes works, that’s why so many are burned out trying to Love Him more and find they can’t and feel condemned ,when all we need to do is enter His rest of unconditional Love and our love will flow in response to that, we have nothing to boast of but Christ crucified

  • Missionary Dave

    Faking it, depression, feeling condemned, lack of intimacy and every other problem in the ministry finds its root in ownership.

    The relationship begins to wane when folks rob God of the glory that is rightfully God’s.

    Even in this article there was a perfect example of how this occurs.

    It can be seen in the words, “When my church was started….” My church?

    Everything belongs to God…..and folks need to realize that is of paramount importance to stop laying claim to anything. God allows a person to have stewardship over things, but not ownership!

    A good beginning to wean self from wrongheaded ownership is to do away with “Pastor’s Parking Spaces,” “Signage On Office Doors,” and “Titles In General.”

    • Ionut Dura

      Hey, pastors need a parking place. And there are signages on toilet rooms also. Pastors shouldn’t have to require respect, it has to be given to them because of their work. It’s in the Bible.


WATCH: Tom McDaniels: Death Words

“God has spoken life over you and not death over you.”