With three mega-sellers to his name (Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell), Francis Chan’s Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples (with Mark Beuving) will be published by David C. Cook in November. PW spoke to him about his newest direction, which has taken him out of church and into the streets.
Since your last books you've left Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., where you were pastor for twenty years. Where have you landed?
In San Francisco, in the inner city, a place called the Tenderloin district. I’m spending a lot of time with a few guys and we go around helping those who are in need and sharing with them the gospel and trying to make them into disciples—followers of Christ.
Your new book is part of a bigger movement, correct?
I’ve partnered with [fellow bestselling author] David Platt (Radical). We’ve started this movement called Multiply, which is about disciple making. Multiply wasn’t meant to be a book really, it’s just the curriculum that we had online that people could use freely, but then a lot of people said they wished it was in book form. It’s a little weird to me to label it as a book because to me it’s a resource, a workbook if anything.
How did the partnership with David come about?
About a year and a half ago we met at a Passion conference where we were both speaking. I had read Radical and he had read Crazy Love and obviously there are a lot of similarities. It showed that the Lord had given us a kindred spirit of the way we saw Scripture, the way the church should be, the way believers ought to be. When I asked him what the Lord was leading him to do next, it was all the same things He was leading me to do next, and it just seemed like it would make no sense to do this separate from one another.
How are you working together?
David just wrote a short foreword for Multiply, but a lot of the material we used comes from his sermon notes. He has the task of writing a book that comes out in February 2013 [Follow Me, Tyndale House Publishers]. I've written the foreword for that and it’s kind of like a joint effort on that book. We are getting ready to film some videos for the Web site, doing some together, some apart. We just figure it out along the way. Neither of us feels any need to have our name in the forefront or anything like that, it’s just whatever is going to work according to our schedule, whatever is going to be more effective for the kingdom.
Multiply says that the church has gotten off-track in the area of disciple making. How so?
We get busy doing other things—good things—but they distract us from the most important, the mission. I could fill my whole time doing interviews, speaking to crowds, and there’s this natural human tendency because of our culture to think that the more people I talk to, the bigger the impact I’ll have, and yet Jesus didn’t spend His time just speaking to the masses. He spent the bulk of his time with a small group of people.
After your previous successes, did you feel some pressure for your next book?
I couldn’t really care less if I ever wrote again. There are just certain times I sense the Lord is wanting me to write, and so I write. The book is really more of a tool [for the Multiply movement]. I don’t have any long-term contracts with publishers or anything like that. It just as the Lord leads; I may write twenty more books, I may never write again.