Francis Chan is the best-selling author of books, Crazy Love and Forgotten God, the host of the BASIC.series and, with coauthor Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell.
Read an excerpt from Erasing Hell »
Francis is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He also sits on the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. Francis now lives in Northern California with his wife, Lisa, and their four daughters and one son.
CONNECTION TO OUTREACH MAGAZINE: Francis Chan was featured “Joy Giver,” The Outreach Interview in the November/December 2008 issue.
How would you encourage other pastors to open their hearts to the poor?
You know, [in my own experience] what struck me most was not just seeing poverty, because I’ve seen poverty before, but two things: (1) Befriending the poor and getting in a place where I actually got to know people who are starving or poor; and (2) seeing the difference between poverty and hopelessness—they are not the same thing.
There are certain places where you see hopelessness, where it is so bad—like, “I’ve just been tortured and now I’m running for my life.” Or AIDS hospitals, where you’ve got these people stacked up on top of each other just waiting to die with this look in their eyes of emptiness and hopelessness. I just don’t know that any human being can see that and not just bawl their eyes out and say in response, “I have to do something!”
I would encourage pastors to go and see, not just poverty, but hopelessness. I think it will touch their hearts so that they resolve, “I must do something.” And once that is in your heart, the Holy Spirit guides you on how that will look for you and your church.
When unbelievers see the Holy Spirit, they get convicted, like Jesus says in Matthew 5: “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It makes absolute sense to me that when people see our actions—us caring for the poor—something will resonate with them that says, “You know what—that is right!”
BOOKS BY FRANCIS CHAN: