Francis Chan: I'd Rather My Children Love Jesus More Than Me; Parents Too Focused on Children's Happiness

Francis Chan speaks to students at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during the Passion 2012 conference on Jan. 4, 2012.
Francis Chan speaks to students at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during the Passion 2012 conference on Jan. 4, 2012. | (Photo: Andrew Shepherd)

Pastor and bestselling author Francis Chan said in an interview on the Ask Pastor John podcast about his new book on marriage and family that his goal as a parent is not to raise children who love hanging out with him but rather are in love with God.

The father of six children with a seventh on the way quoted his book, You and Me Forever , saying, "One of the things I think that I mention in the book is like, what are you after? Do you want them to love you more than you want them to love Jesus? Obviously I want both (for his children to love him and Jesus) but if I'm going to choose one or the other, it's always going to be Jesus."

Chan shared how this aim has become a focus in his alone time with God.

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"I love being with my kids; they're so fun. I mean so much laughter [it's] just great but you know, the more I spend time with Jesus, first of all, the more my wife and kids like me and my wife will tell me that. It's those periods when I've had my time with the Lord, I'm more of a light."

He continued, "The other thing about it is the more I pray to God and I see answers to those prayers, the more my kids see that wow, God listens to Dad and they want the same thing for their lives."

This desire to raise a family with eternity in mind is what Chan and his wife Lisa's new book You and Me Forever is about. In the book trailer, the twosome explain that the marriage guide is intended to help Christian couples concentrate on marriage and family to refocus their attention to the Kingdom of God.

"We just wrote this book You and Me Forever and the whole idea behind it is sometimes couples can get so wrapped up on things here to where they're not focused on the kingdom," Chan expresses in the video.

Lisa adds, "We felt that there was something lacking; there wasn't a resource that really helped couples pull out of that inward focus and make it so much about one another and rather make an outward focus saying what are we really here for, what is the bigger picture about marriage."

While the book focuses predominately on marriage, there is also a chapter about parenting. The Chans expound on this chapter in John Piper's podcast, expressing that much like marriage, the focus on children's well-being can become too insular.

Chan explained, "It's not just about their current happiness and my time with the Lord isn't just so that we can have a happy family because honestly if my connection with the Lord made our family dynamics more difficult or trying, it would still be worth it because my goal, my greatest desire is that when my kids leave the family, leave the home is that they would love Him deeply. So I need them to experience God when they're with me, I need them to experience the answers of prayers so that they pray more because once my kids move out, yea, it would be tough if they were interviewed, you know, and said ah yeah we had a tough family; I don't really like hanging out with them or I don't really like my dad that much. Of course that would break my heart but I could deal with that. What would be unbearable is if they didn't love Jesus."

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