Chan’s plea at Pastors’ Conference: Less ritual, more passion for the lost

Meredith Flynn —  June 10, 2014

Francis Chan told the crowd he has sat in worship services before and thought, "‘There’s more! There’s something in me that’s just dying to get out. I read what happened in the Word and I know that there’s more, and I’ve got to pursue it.”

Francis Chan told the crowd he has sat in church services before and thought, “‘There’s more! There’s something in me that’s just dying to get out. I read what happened in the Word and I know that there’s more, and I’ve got to pursue it.”


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In an impassioned message at the SBC Pastors’ Conference Monday night, Francis Chan begged attenders to consider how much they long for God and care about people who are dying without hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chan, the author of “Crazy Love” and “Forgotten God,” spoke for several minutes before confessing he sensed something “just not flowing” during his message at the Pastors’ Conference. “And honestly, the last time I felt this was the last time I spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention.”

His words were obviously impromptu, and Chan stumbled over them a little as he stressed he didn’t want to offend or be judgmental. But, he continued, there are patterns and rituals and things that were learned and passed down, “and sometimes, I can see like an emptiness in the eyes.” Even as the actions are there, he added.

Pastors' Conference President Bruce Frank urged attenders not to leave before they got on their knees and prayed about what Chan said.

Pastors’ Conference President Bruce Frank urged attenders not to leave before they got on their knees and prayed about what Chan said.

“I see a lot of ritual, a lot of…faithfulness over the years, but I’m concerned that there’s not this desperate cry for God.”

“I just had to say something, and I don’t know it that resonates with some of you,” Chan said as applause in the room grew louder.

“I remember sometimes I’d sit in a church service and everything inside of me just wants to scream, ‘There’s more! There’s something in me that’s just dying to get out. I read what happened in the Word and I know that there’s more, and I’ve got to pursue it.”

Chan spoke to those at the Pastors’ Conference who have felt the same disconnect:

“I believe that that burning in you is from the Holy Spirit, and that’s it not OK to just be fine with the unreached people groups out there and people going to hell.

“It’s not OK to just sing another song and finish out the service and tie it up right, and to have another year of services. But that we would just say: ‘No, God, I gotta have you. I gotta have you. I gotta experience what I read about in this book.’”

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.