Francis Chan Resigns

April 27, 2010 — 5 Comments

Here’s the letter Francis Chan shared with Cornerstone Church to explain his decision to resign as the lead minister after 16 years.

Dear Friends,

For those who have not heard, this past Sunday I announced to Cornerstone Church that I will be transitioning out of my ministry in Simi Valley. It was a rough Sunday as there were many different emotions floating around the room. In short, Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faith. We believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. Every time I fly into a large city, I am struck by the sheer numbers and feel pulled to try ministering in that environment. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past weekend to hear more details. If for no other reason, my wife spoke some very powerful words that every believer needs to hear.

It has been an amazing 16 years as pastor of Cornerstone Church. When we started gathering, I doubt that any of us dared to dream that God would use this church to have such an impact on Simi Valley and the rest of the world. I think most of us were just hoping it would survive. God had bigger plans than we did. The Lord has truly shown us His grace, that we could be used as His instruments to bring glory to the name of Jesus.

The plan is that I would teach at Cornerstone through the end of May. During this time, I will be sharing the lessons most important to me. I have taught thousands of times over these years, and now I hope to re-emphasize what I see as most important. I will also be at our prayer meetings to beg our God to do even greater things in Simi after I leave. For those who have questions or just want to talk, you can catch me at the prayer meetings.

I’ll continue to write and give you more information as the Lord continues to guide the elders and me. Like I said at our services, I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.

Once again, here is my family’s rough plan for our future:

Jan 2011 = launch a new ministry as an extension of Cornerstone

Oct-Dec = Serving in a third world country

April/May = speaking at Cornerstone

June/July = speaking around the U.S.

August/Sept = Praying and walking large cities to seek God’s leading.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this amazing journey in Simi. Thanks for all the love and encouragement my family and I have received over the years.


I have a ton of respect for Francis.  I’ve never met him, but I’ll be working with him at the NACC this summer and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get to know him.

I’m sure his congregation is dealing with a lot of different emotions, but I’m excited for him.  There is nothing as exhilarating as taking a step of faith for God. I’m excited to see what God does next through–and in–Francis’ life.

His resignation prompted some thoughts this afternoon about an important question all minister’s face at one time or another: How do I know if it’s time for me to leave this church?

Let me share a few of my answers to that question.

Reasons to Resign

1.  When God calls, it’s time to leave.

2. When you care more about getting paid than reaching people in your community, it’s time to leave.

3. If you’re using the church for your own personal gain, it’s time to leave.

4. If you’re indulging in sin–and you’re working harder at hiding your sin than serving the Church–it’s time to leave.

5. If you’re wife and kids says it’s time to leave, it’s time to leave.

6. If you don’t love your people any more, it’s time to leave.

7. If you feel both a push to step out and a pull to walk through an “open door” (that is obviously being opened by God), it may be time to leave.

8. If your Elders have asked you to leave, it’s time to leave.

9. If your relationship with your staff is damaged beyond repair, it’s time to leave.

10. If your staff doesn’t respect you any more, it’s time to leave.

11. If your vision doesn’t align with the vision of the Elders, it’s probably time to leave.

12. If there is sin in the leadership (Eldership/Board) or church that is being ignored, brushed under the carpet, or tolerated and your attempts to address the issue are ignored, it’s time to leave.

13. If the stress of your ministry is causing you to be seriously sick or unhealthy, it’s time to leave.

14. If your family is falling apart, it’s time to leave.

15. If your doctrinal position and the leadership’s (Eldership/Board) doctrinal position are irreconcilable, it’s time to leave.

16. If you don’t respect your leadership team (Eldership/Board), it’s time to leave.

17. If your leadership team (Eldership/Board) doesn’t respect you, it’s time to leave.

18. If you are no longer pulling your weight, it’s time to leave.

19. If you have been caught cheating on your wife, stealing from the church, abusing children, abusing your spouse, abusing drugs, or any other sin that brings shame on the church and hinders your credibility and effectiveness, it’s time to resign. (similar to #4, but this reason applies to a minister who has been caught and his sin is no longer hidden from men.)

20. If you and your family are the congregation, it’s time to resign.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my reasons to resign, but I’d also love to hear some of yours.  Please post your reasons to resign in the comments section and I’ll put them online.


5 responses to Francis Chan Resigns

    Mike Kocolowski April 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    This is an insightful list of reasons to leave. I wonder if we could come up with an equivalent list of reasons to stay?


    Looks like you have pretty much covered them all Aaron.

    I resisted #5 several times and due to the ministrations of my Elder at the time I ABSOLUTELY refused to allow Satan to run me out of where God put me and gifted me to serve …

    I subsequently used a version of that phrase and this list as I took over from that Elder and shepherded my section of that flock for many years… Several times over 10 years in the Eldership I repeated this to myself and my sheep.

    After several significant life changes [widowered/remarriage] and a lot of frustration I returned to His peace and listening to my Gracious God very, very closely, I realized it was really #1 & #7 that I was refusing to acknowledge.

    God is GOOD! Trust and Obey is KEY! Still serving…new flock.


    Aaron, I must contend that when there is sin within the Eldership, and the Elder is pointing toward you as the cause, you must NOT resign, but fight for truth.

    My policy in ministry has always been “you can have my resignation for the asking.” I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted or needed.

    However, God may be calling us to a higher, more painful calling. Here is the example a good friend of mine gave.

    A church treasurer was embezzling money. He manipulated the books to make it look like the preacher was doing the dirty deed. The preacher, knowing he did nothing wrong, was dejected and demoralized by the accusations. He was ready to resign, when he says the Lord spoke to him to find the truth.

    He stayed and asked for a full investigation of each incident which the treasurer accused him of. It was not long before the true dishonest person was identified…the treasurer.

    That behavior would have continued if the preacher would have resigned. But, because he chose not to resign (Even though the entire board believed the treasurer and not the preacher.) the congregation purged from their leadership a dishonest man.

    Now, I challenge you to make a list of reasons NOT to resign.


    I am pained by the Christian Church in America, as it “plays to the choir” to keep it’s wealthy members contributing, while not doing enough to serve the youth, who need a church that will help them live the Christian life of service to others. Bricks & Mortar concerns of the mainstream church get in the way of the peace-loving service to others. I would like to see many small churches rather than these mega-churches. Also, we are failing to use the Web to reach the youth & young adults. Right now, I am reading a bokk of a Protestant family raising their children in Nazi Germany, which behooves bringing Christ to our youth!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s