Beacon Features: Francis Chan’s crazy love

By Michele Kappas
Contributing Writer

With Christival having finished this past week, many students probably still want to know more about the keynote speaker, Francis Chan.

Who is he? How did he end up being a pastor preaching to large college audiences?

For those who haven’t read his book, “Crazy Love,” or heard any of his videotaped speeches, prepare to be blown away.

Chan is known for his passion and his ability to make more of an impact with his words because of what Christ has done in his life.

He understands the importance of bringing truth, yet knows how to keep his audience laughing.

In a conversation with Chan in the back of “Crazy Love,” he explains where his sense of urgency comes from.

“I learned there might not be a tomorrow,” Chan said. “I always want this to be the greatest message I preach in case I’m not here to give another one. I have a sense of urgency built into me from my upbringing and going to so many funerals and seeing friends pass away. I can’t help but be urgent in my message.”

Chan is the founder of Eternity Bible College and member of the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact.

In one of Chan’s videos he explains that the purpose behind Eternity Bible College is to “train people to live and die well.”

Chan is also the pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., which he and his wife started in 1994.

When asked what keeps him there, Chan said, “I love these people.  I’m here   because I believe God wants me to lead these specific people for this period of time.”

He received his bachelor of arts degree from Master’s College and has a master of divinity degree from Master’s Seminary.

Photo by Casey Elia / Contributing Photographer

Photo by Casey Elia / Contributing Photographer

Chan has been married to his wife Lisa for 15 years and has four children. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, golfing and playing with his kids.

Chan describes his oldest daughter Rachel, 14, as “spirit-filled, but definitely a high school girl;” Mercy, 10, as the “sweetest kid you’ll ever meet;” Eliana, 4, as “one of the strangest, most random kids you’ll ever meet;” and 3-year-old Ezekiel as someone who is “fun, easy-going and loves to play.”

Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” was published in 2008. In its preface, Chan explains that this book is written for those who want more Jesus.

“It is for those who are bored with what American Christianity offers,” Chan said. “It is for those who don’t want to plateau, those who would rather die before their convictions do.”

He also confessed that he grew up believing in God without having a clue what He was like. A few years ago, Chan said, he felt God begin to work in his life and that he has never felt more alive.

According to an article on, “Crazy Love” had sold over 350,000 copies as of July 14, 2009. It has gotten phenomenal reviews and won the 2009 Retailers Choice Award.

His new book, “Forgotten God,” was just released this month and differs from his former book in that “Crazy Love” speaks about what we must do and “Forgotten God” is about how we can do it by the power of the spirit.

Chan is speaking at Passion 2010, a Christian College Rally conference in Atlanta next January. This conference had an attendance of over 20,000 in 2007.

It is not unusual for him to receive calls to speak in front of these types of crowds. When Chan was asked if he usually comes to speak at schools and why he decided to come to PBA he replied, “I rarely do this, but for some reason felt led to come this year.”

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