Francis Chan is an amazing American preacher. He is the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA. He is also the Founder and Chancellor of Eternity Bible College and author of the best-selling book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, and Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. His other works include Erasing Hell, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples in 2012, and the Basic Series by Francis Chan, a DVD series.
Chan is a highly sought after speaker at many Christian colleges, major national and international events and conferences. He is also currently active with Children’s Hunger Fund, African Renewal Ministries and World Impact. Chan frequently talks about ‘What the Bible is really saying’ and really living our lives that way. He is not afraid of confronting lukewarmness.
He was born in 1967. His mother died giving birth to him. After being raised by his Buddhist grandmother in Hong Kong, Francis came to America at the age of 5. His father remarried, and then his step mother died in a car accident when Francis was 9. Then his father died of cancer when he was 12 years old. The only close relatives he had were his aunt and uncle. But when he was in high school, his aunt and uncle got in a fight, and his uncle shot his wife then killed himself.
The losses were profound. Chan says physical and verbal affection in his family, particularly from his father, was rare. His only memory of affection from his dad came when Chan and his father were on the way to his stepmother’s funeral, and his father put his arm around him for about 30 seconds.
Francis Chan has an older sister Grace, older brother Paul and much younger half-sister, Gloria. He had family support from his father’s younger sister and her husband, Marion and William Wong, along with a large extended family and church family. He did not get along well with his father growing up, but says that his fear of his father has helped him understand a level of fear of God. He also stated he didn’t understand the love of God well until he became a father himself.
Despite a childhood filled with death, Francis Chan did not doubt the love of God. He recalls a childhood filled with church and belief in God. And by junior high school he began to understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with God. In high school, he began living it. By God’s grace and mercy, Francis came to know the Lord in high school in Stockton, Ca.
Chan was active in Christian youth groups which helped develop his faith in Christianity and his interest in ministry. Chan joined his youth pastor in ministry to reach his friends who were still in school. It was during that time that Chan chose to become a pastor. He earned a BA in youth ministry from The Master’s College and a Master’s of Divinity from The Master’s Seminary. In 1992, he worked as a youth pastor for another church. Eventually, he and his wife Lisa decided to start their own church, Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Ca. In 1994. Within ten years, the church had grown to over 3,000 regular attendees. Before becoming a senior pastor, Francis worked for a variety of employers including Taco Bell, Mic Pizza, Kirby Company, Ralphs Market, Broadway Men’s Clothing, hardwood flooring contractors, and the Acapulco restaurant.
After five years of church as usual at Cornerstone, a missionary from Papua New Guinea challenged Chan’s self-centered theology. Just a few years later, Chan took a trip to Uganda that further altered his thinking and living. “It was there that I fell in love with orphans.
Chan started Eternity Bible College in 2004 as a ministry of Cornerstone Community Church with 100 students. In 2008, Eternity launched an abroad program in Ecuador. As of 2009, the college graduated 47 graduates serving in various parts of the world. In 2005, Francis was the featured speaker in a now international video called Just Stop And Think which went viral, landing in every state and 30+ countries.
He has inspired many people with his ‘crazy love’ message. His passion and clarity in sharing the gospel has inspired many to seek the Kingdom of God wholeheartedly, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The pastor, speaker and best-selling author believes a life called by Jesus will be a transformed life. And he tries to live out that transformation in every aspect—his ministry, his family, his community, his finances and his publishing.
On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Chan announced to his congregation that he felt called to resign at Cornerstone in Simi Valley to pursue what God had laid on his heart. As of April 2010 he stated he was not yet sure what city God had called him to, but by June 2011 stated publicly he felt called to San Francisco, CA. He moved to Northern California, and as of 2013, Francis’s website said he was “working to start a church planting movement in the inner city of San Francisco and also working to launch a countrywide discipleship movement.”
After a three-month leave from Cornerstone, Francis said he felt convicted to sacrifice more for God. Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income, doesn’t take a salary from his church, and has donated most of his book royalties, which have totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities. Much of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries. Furthermore, in 2008 it was reported that Cornerstone would give away 55% of its income to charitable causes.
In September 2014, Chan joined the board of elders of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California. Currently, Francis is planting churches in the San Francisco area and recently launched a countrywide discipleship movement called Multiply with David Platt. Together, Francis and his wife Lisa raise their seven children in Northern California.