‘Crazy’ Life of Rachel Chan Is All About Faith

January 19, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

For most people, the trip from southern to northern California follows Interstate 5 and doesn’t involve a detour through Asia.

As you’ll see, the family of seven headed by Pastor Francis Chan isn’t most people.

“Throughout the Bible, people do crazy things for the glory of God,” says Chan’s 16-year-old daughter, Rachel, a high school junior and musician who will perform before her father’s speaking engagement Friday night in GCU Arena.

“Jesus calls us to deny ourselves. If we’re really living for eternity, these things aren’t crazy at all.”

In April 2010, Chan announced to his huge congregation at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., that he was resigning to pursue a different calling.

“Guys, we need to sell our house and go to Asia,” Rachel recalls her father telling the family, and that’s where Francis and Lisa Chan and their children lived for a few months, expecting to set up residence and a ministry in Hong Kong.

However, while based overseas, the 44-year-old Chan felt the pull of unfinished work in the States. Born in San Francisco’s Chinatown, he was drawn to return home and to establish a church-planting ministry in the Tenderloin neighborhood, considered one of the toughest parts of the city.

It’s no ordinary ministry, and it’s a far cry from his 1,600-member megachurch in southern California. Through an organization called City Impact, the Chans have been planting churches in apartment buildings for about a year now.

Crazy, right?

“I’ve loved it,” Rachel says, “and I’ve seen the joy on my dad’s face. As he’s become older, he’s become bolder in the faith.

“He wanted to go someplace where you’d never think of it being a place for glorifying God. When you think of San Francisco, you don’t think, ‘Jesus!’”

Rachel says it wasn’t long ago that she wasn’t thinking too much about Jesus, either. She describes her middle-school years as rebellious, saying “it was a dark time” and that she hasn’t lived “the perfect Christian life.”

Music helped her find her way again. She has played piano since the age of 6, and this month she released her first album, “Go,” which she says includes songs born from her struggles.

On Friday, she will perform three original songs and also join the Irish band Rend Collective Experiment onstage. She jokes with her father about being more than just his warmup act.

“I tell him, ‘Hey, Dad, this is the first time you’re doing something at my concert,’” she says with a laugh.

Francis Chan, best known for his challenging book “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God,” gives away about 90 percent of his income and has donated most of his book royalties to charities.

His daughter has no idea what he’ll talk about, but she’s fairly certain of what the point will be.

“He’ll touch on what he’s doing, bringing the Gospel into other people’s lives,” Rachel says. “At the end of the day, people need Jesus.”

For tickets to Friday’s program, which starts at 7:30 p.m., go to www.gcuarena.com.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or doug.carroll@gcu.edu.


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