Francis Chan

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Francis Chan
Chan in 2009
Personal details
Born (1967-08-31) August 31, 1967 (age 55)[1]
SpouseLisa Lundgren[citation needed]
Children7, including Rachel
OccupationChristian teacher, preacher, and author
EducationThe Master's University (BA),
The Master's Seminary (MDiv)

Francis Chan [陳恩藩] (born August 31, 1967),[1] is an American Protestant author, teacher, and preacher. He is the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, an Evangelical church in Simi Valley, California founded by Chan in 1994.[3] He also founded Eternity Bible College in 2004, and served as its early chancellor until 2010.[4][5]

Chan has been a board member of several Christian and social justice organizations, including Children's Hunger Fund and Gospel for Asia.[6] He has authored and co-authored numerous books including Crazy Love, a New York Times bestseller.[7] Chan has also served as an ambassador for Care for Children.[8]


Early life and education[edit]

Chan was born in San Francisco[9][2] to immigrants Pak-sum Chan [陳柏森], a former minister at the Leighton Road Baptist Church in Hong Kong, and Wan-bing Mui [梅韻冰], a “Bible woman of the Hong Kong Baptist Church, Caine Road.” He was their third child; his mother died during his childbirth,[9] of “excessive bleeding”, leaving his father with sister Grace, brother Paul, and newborn Francis, who was named for the city of his birth and of the tragedy.[3][10]

Chan was sent to Hong Kong to be raised by a grandmother, a Buddhist for several years. During this time, his father married Amy Law [羅笑容] and gave Francis a half-sister, Gloria. In 1976, when Chan was eight years old, his stepmother Amy Chan died in an automobile accident.[3][10]

His father then remarried again, to Josephine Leung [梁克閲], who “raised [the] four children lovingly with Godly influence.“[3] In raising the four, his father and new stepmother 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.[1] 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.[11] He also stated he didn't understand the love of God well until he became a father himself.[1] In 1979, when Francis was twelve years old, he lost his father to cancer.[3][10] As a high-school and then junior-college student,[12][where?][when?] Chan was active in Christian youth groups, which helped develop his faith in Christ and his interest in ministry.[3][verification needed]

Chan graduated high school and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Master's College, and a master of divinity degree from The Master's Seminary.[13][14]


After earning his seminary degree, Chan "landed a youth pastor position" in Chatsworth, California, at the Church at Rocky Peak.[14] Christianity Today, reporting in 2009, has Chan characterizing this as a period where his personal life was not lived consistently with his religious ideas, stating "Those were the worst years of my life... a sinful, hypocritical time."[14] For reasons not explained further, Chan left that pastoral position for a job at a restaurant, waiting tables.[14]

Cornerstone Community Church[edit]

Chan, his wife Lisa, and 30 others founded Cornerstone Community Church in 1994;[3][15] within two months, the church had grown to have 100 attending. The church continued to see increases in attendance, and by the year 2000, it had received approval from local officials for building expansion to double its capacity, in support of a 1,600-member congregation.[16] As of January 2008, Cornerstone was one of the largest churches in Ventura County, California.[17]

After a three-month leave from Cornerstone, ca. 2008,[verification needed] Chan said he felt convicted to sacrifice more for God. Chan had been giving away about 50% of his income, didn't take a salary from his church, and donated most of his book royalties, which totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities. All of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries.[14][verification needed] Furthermore, in 2008 it was reported that Cornerstone would give away 55% of its income to charitable causes.[18][verification needed]

Chan started Eternity Bible College in 2004 as a ministry of Cornerstone Community Church, with 100 students.[19] In 2008, Eternity launched an abroad program in Ecuador.[19][verification needed] As of 2009, the college had 47 graduates serving in various parts of the world.[19][verification needed]

On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Chan announced to his congregation that he felt called to resign.[20]

Return to San Francisco[edit]

In June 2011, he stated he felt called to San Francisco, CA. He moved to Northern California and started a church planting network of house churches called "We Are Church".[21][22]

In September 2014, Chan joined the board of elders of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship;[citation needed] as of August 2016, he was no longer an elder at that congregation.[23][better source needed]

He served as a top-level leader in the We Are Church network until 2020.

Return to Hong Kong[edit]

In 2020, Chan moved back to Hong Kong,[24] living and working in Sham Shui Po, the poorest area in Hong Kong and the neighborhood where his mother used to do ministry in the 1950s.[25]

Return to the US[edit]

In January 2021, Chan announced he and his family had returned to the US after his HK visa was denied. He has stated his intent to return to Hong Kong when possible.[26]


Chan frequently talks about "What the Bible is really saying" "and really living our lives that way." According to one author,[who?] he is not afraid of confronting "lukewarmness" in the Christian life.[27][needs update]

With regards to Communion, in January 2020, Francis Chan began to publicly investigate his stance on the real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper,[28] a lighter view of which is taught in the Reformed Protestant tradition (which Chan has been associated with in the past).[29]


Prior to this shift on the Eucharist, Chan had given a talk to Catholics at the (Neo-charismatic Protestant) Onething conference in 2018, and was prayed over by multiple Catholic priests.[30] He spoke at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students' SEEK conference in February 2021.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Chan is married to Lisa, a singer.[32] They wed in 1994,[33] and as of December 2014 they have seven children.[34] Their eldest is singer Rachel Chan.[35]


Further reading[edit]

  • Wellman, James K. (2012). Rob Bell and a New American Christianity. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. pp. 63f, 114–119. ISBN 978-1426748448. This author discusses the responses of Chan to the controversial Mars Hill pastor, Rob Bell.


  1. ^ a b c d "Francis Chan Bio - Just Stop and Think". Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Serwach, Joseph (March 24, 2020). "Francis Chan: How the Lockdown Can Help Us Reach a Lost World". Medium.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lau, K.C. (November 7, 2012). "The Extraordinary Reverend Francis Chan". Evangel Literature (in English and Chinese). Archived from the original on January 26, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  4. ^ Chan, Francis; Sprinkle, Preston M. (January 24, 2014). The Francis Chan Collection: Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, and Multiply. David C Cook. ISBN 9780781412032 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Chan, Francis. "about EBC: a message from our founder". Eternity Bible College. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  6. ^ "Why Gospel for Asia Got Kicked Out of the Evangelical...". Christianity Today. October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Paperback Advice & Misc. Books - Best Sellers - Books - Nov. 14, 2010 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  8. ^ "Patrons & Ambassadors – Who We Are – Care For Children – Family First in Asia". Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Video". Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c D'Avolio, Lauren (September 19, 2013). "Francis Chan Urges the Church to Turn Her Eyes on God, Away From the Standards of Men". The Gospel Herald. Retrieved December 20, 2019. He was born in San Francisco's Chinatown, but his mother died as she was giving birth to him. His dad remarried, but when he Chan was 8 his step mother died in a car accident. Then, his dad died of cancer when he was 12. 'By the time I was in junior high I was thinking, "Man, life is short,"' Chan said.
  11. ^ e 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.
  12. ^ han was active in Christian youth groups, which helped develop his faith in Christ and his interest in ministry.
  13. ^ "Staff".
  14. ^ a b c d e Brandon, John (October 16, 2009). "Crazy Passion: Francis Chan Keeps Pushing and Pushing to Make More and More Disciples" (online). Christianity Today. Retrieved December 27, 2019. After attending the Master's College north of Los Angeles, where he earned a seminary degree, Chan landed a youth pastor position at the Church at Rocky Peak in Chatsworth, California, a short drive from Simi Valley.
  15. ^ Chilton, Brian G. (July 11, 2019). "Are you worshiping God or yourself?". Christian Post. Retrieved April 25, 2020. Francis Chan is a popular preacher and teacher and is the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, which he and his wife started in 1994.
  16. ^ Giordono, Joseph (March 28, 2000). "Membership explosion leads to expansion Simi church to double in size". Daily News of Los Angeles. Retrieved December 23, 2019. SIMI VALLEY—To accommodate an overflow of worshippers at its existing facility, a 6-year-old Simi Valley church is going ahead with expansion plans that would more than double its current size. Receiving unanimous approval from the Simi Valley Planning Commission last week, leaders of the nondenominational Cornerstone Community Church said the expansion is necessary to serve a membership that has grown from 30 people to 1,600.
  17. ^ Kisken, Tom (January 22, 2008). "1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade still polarizes". Ventura County Star. Camarillo, CA: Gannett. Archived from the original on July 25, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2019. The Rev. Francis Chan leads one of the largest churches in Ventura County, Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley. He, too, argues that abortion is a hugely important issue but said many evangelicals are no longer pushing just one hot button. 'There are a mounting number of believers who are looking at other issues,' he said, listing social justice issues like caring for the poor.
  18. ^ Schuchmann, Jennifer (October 28, 2009). "Francis Chan's Crazy Love: Why This Pastor's Church Gives Away Half its Budget". Christianity Today. Archived from the original (online) on February 16, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  19. ^ a b c EBC Staff (2013). "The Story of Eternity". Eternity Bible College (EBC). Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "Pastors challenge Francis Chan over decision to leave megachurch". Christian Today. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  21. ^ "Francis Chan's Letters to the Church". October 3, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2020. He returned to California to begin a church planting movement in San Francisco. He is currently a pastor of the We Are Church house church network that is spreading through Northern California.
  22. ^ "History". We Are Church. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  23. ^ ALCF Staff (August 7, 2016). "[Elders]". Abundant Life Christian Fellowship. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  24. ^ Klett, Leah MarieAnn (March 11, 2020). "Francis Chan discovers link between birth mother, move to Hong Kong: 'It's confirmation of God's goodness'". The Christian Post.
  25. ^ ""Don't lose your peace. The enemy can't take that away from us": Francis Chan in his first address to US church after HK move | Salt&Light". April 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  26. ^ Shellnutt, Kate. "Francis Chan Returns from Hong Kong After Visa Rejected". Christianity Today. Retrieved January 31, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Dyck, Drew (November 4, 2008). "Who's Behind 'Crazy Love'?". Ministry Today. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  28. ^ Becklo, Matthew (January 20, 2020). "Francis Chan and his dream of a Eucharist rooted in the Early Church". Aleteia. Retrieved January 31, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "The Eucharist is Making Francis Chan More Reformed, Not Less". Theopolis Institute. January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  30. ^ Lea, Jessica (January 31, 2020). "Chan: I Don't Care If You Are Catholic or Baptist, Just If You Love Jesus". ChurchLeaders. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  31. ^ Warden, Scott (January 22, 2021). "Seeking the Truth: An interview with Francis Chan". Our Sunday Visitor. Retrieved January 31, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ "Lisa Chan". Discogs. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  33. ^ Account, Sample (July 28, 2015). "Marriage With Eternity in Mind". Focus on the Family. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  34. ^ Smethurst, Matt; Chan, Francis; Chan, Lisa (December 18, 2014). "Marriage in Light of Forever: Francis and Lisa Chan on the Secret to Relational Success" (author interview, via email). TGC. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) (U.S. Edition, online). Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  35. ^ Sarachik, Justin (January 4, 2012). "Francis Chan's Daughter: Rachel Chan Album Review for 'Go'". The Christian Post. Retrieved January 13, 2016.

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