Francis Chan: GFA's Yohannan 'totally shaped' my life

Thursday, October 8, 2020
Michael F. Haverluck (

Francis Chan (in Hong Kong)Inspired by the life of a missions ministry founder, pastor and author Francis Chan is ministering to the poor in the same Hong Kong neighborhood where his mother ministered in the 1950s.

Chan (pictured), the bestselling evangelical author who gave up pastoring his megachurch in Southern California to serve and live among the poor in Hong Kong, credits Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan's dedication to missions for leading him closer to Jesus by serving the poor and needy.

Being inspired by Yohannan's modest lifestyle and humble faith, Chan's idea of "true faith" was turned upside down, he says, and helped him make the decision to leave the affluent lifestyle of the West as an admired and well-known pastor and head east to the slums of Hong Kong to start an "anonymous" ministry.

"I've learned more about a true walk with Jesus and what leadership should look like from [Yohannan's] life," Chan told Yohannan in a recent video conversation. "My life has been totally shaped by [him]."

Serving in humility

Much of what Chan learned about GFA's leader is described in the 70-year-old missionary statesman's new book, "Never Give Up: The Story of a Broken Man Impacting a Generation" – and at 53 years of age now, the popular founder of Cornerstone Community Church in California's Simi Valley has no regrets about leaving his successful ministry behind.

"A lot of people are wrestling right now ... a lot of people have questions," Chan shared with Yohannan. "It always comes back to Christ being central … people are not enjoying Jesus as much as they could be."

The author of the bestselling book "Crazy Love" said that after examining Yohannan's life dedicated to the destitute, celebrity status lost its appeal.

"[Your] passion for getting the gospel to the ends of the Earth [challenged me to live a life serving the poor and marginalized without fanfare]," expressed Chan, who currently resides in one of Hong Kong's poorest neighborhoods.

Broken to be used more powerfully

Before writing "Never Give Up," Yohannan did some soul-searching of his own during a four-year battle in his life that he says rendered him a broken man going through "spiritual agony."

During this difficult time, GFA's president found himself being taken on a journey riddled with persecution and pain, which he said God used to refine his character so that he became closer to Christ.

"[God] asked me, 'Are you willing to die to your reputation?'" Yohannan shared in the video before issuing a new challenge to the Church so that it can transform people to the ends of the Earth with God's love: "[God] is looking for a mighty minority that knows Him to turn the world upside down." 

Francis Chan (from Hong Kong): Don't Lose Your Love, Your Joy, Your Peace


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