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Francis Chan exploded onto the evangelical scene a few years ago when podcasts of sermons he gave at his flourishing, 4,000-member Southern California church went viral. But then in late 2010, he up and quit, saying, "I just want to disappear for a while." One thing that bothered him, he said, was that "even in my own church I heard the words 'Francis Chan' more than I heard the words, 'Holy Spirit.'"
Two years later, he finds himself in San Francisco, where he says he's thankful that "no one really knows who I am." He leads a small fellowship that meets weekly, and then goes out to share the love of Christ in the neighborhood and city.
His latest book, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples (David C. Cook; co-written by Mark Beuving), didn't start out as a book, but as a manual of discipleship. The book reveals the passions and character of the best-selling author and church planter. CT editor Mark Galli spoke with Chan by phone recently.
What are you hoping to accomplish in your new book?
I try to explain the most important things a believer needs to know. It's an attempt to teach the basics of what I feel needs to be passed on to new believers. I know there's other stuff out there, but I needed to be faithful to what I felt needs to be out there.
Unlike many other discipleship manuals, yours does not begin by explaining about how to pray or have personal devotions and other personal disciplines. Instead, you begin by talking about the importance of church, which often comes late in other discipleship manuals.
In our culture, people have a very low view of church, and I didn't want readers to forget the church. For a person to be truly discipled and growing in their faith, they need more than one person discipling them. They need to see the gifts of the body; that's how God created it and intended it. I wanted early on to explain that this is very, very important, and that it is God's agenda, that this is how he's going to reach the world.