In April 2014, Pastor Francis Chan addressed Christian leaders assembled for the Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) national conference in Dallas (CLA Dallas 2014). Prior to going on stage to address attendees, Francis Chan sat down with CLA President and CEO Tami Heim for a backstage interview. Here is an excerpt from that video interview as it appeared in the 2014 Fall edition of Outcomes Magazine.
Heim asked Chan what God had put on his heart to share with the leaders attending the conference. This was Francis Chan’s response:
What’s on my heart is I am thinking about these leaders. And having been in a position of leadership for the last 20 something years – this wrestling that I have where I just feel the enemy does everything he can to distract me from my own walk with God. Because he knows if I walk with God… I mean, that’s what we see in Scripture. Moses wasn’t Moses because he was gifted or a great administrator. He just knew God. He met with God face to face. So whatever Moses did was going to succeed.
That’s what you see in Scripture. People who walk with God are going to accomplish great things. And yet everything God is trying to do in my life is being thwarted by the enemy. He is trying to distract me from that. It’s like: “Don’t connect with God. As long as we can keep Francis busy thinking he’s a brilliant leader. Let’s get him strategizing, structuring. Let’s get him writing. Let’s get him doing this, this, this, this….” Anything to keep me from praying to God. Anything to keep me from being intimate with Jesus, where I just know I walk with him, and I sense him, and he’s with me, and this confidence and courage I have.
So my heart for these leaders is: “Are you walking with God?”
Because, I know the enemy is going to do everything he can to keep you from being close to Jesus. And if you remember times in your past when you were closer to him, when you knew him better, when you had this connection with him, that’s what got you to where you are today. You know at some point you humbled yourself and just said, “God, I need you.” But then over the years you suddenly get a little success, or a little position, and people started looking up to you and you started believing you’re something, rather than going back to that childlike reliance and that Davidic “This is the one thing I asked for; I just want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
Man, is that still you? “God, just the fact that I know you, that’s what makes my life amazing. That’s my joy! That’s my everything!” And once you lose that, you’re just talking about him. You know, there was Moses on that mountaintop. He’s right there with the burning bush and then there’s everyone at the base of the mountain, like onlookers. Which are you? Are you one of these people down here (at the base) going, “Okay, God is like this,” or are you right there in the fire touching him?
I had the most amazing time with God this morning… And it was just wonderful. It was like, “Ah, I needed this, I needed this, Jesus. I don’t want to leave.”
I don’t know. I slip in and out. And I know as leaders a lot of you do too. And once you get disconnected and rely on other things, it’s going to be to your downfall. You can still have the appearance of success. But as we’re talking about kingdom outcomes, and fruit that lasts, that comes from abiding in the Vine. Jesus knows when I’m on that stage if I’m really connected to him or not.
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