'Professional Pastor' Wants to Love Jesus Again

Francis Chan remembers going through his high school yearbook, calling up every senior to tell them about Jesus because he didn't want them to go to hell.

"This is probably the weirdest call you're ever going to get but man, I care about you and this is what I believe now," the Southern California pastor recalled saying on the phone.

That was then; this is now.

"It was so simple back then," said Chan, who recently left his lead pastor position after 16 years of leading Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley. "You just love people, you don't want them to go to hell so you share the Gospel with them.

"What changed?"

"Somehow I got away from that and I became a professional pastor," he lamented.

Chan preached his last sermon at Cornerstone, which he founded, on the last Sunday of May. The well-known pastor had announced to his congregation in April that he would be leaving.

For years, he was feeling restless and found himself getting too comfortable as his church grew to thousands and as he gained popularity in the Christian circle.

He was caught up with accomplishments and praying for his ministry. And he wasn't pursuing Jesus like he used to.

"I'm going, 'Lord, I want to know you ... but I've caught myself where knowing you hasn't been enough. I've been wanting ministry, I've wanted to accomplish [things] ... I've been in that mode way too long and God, I just miss you,'" Chan said earlier this week as he spoke to thousands of Southern Baptist pastors in Orlando, Fla.

"The Bible says love the Lord, your God with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind," he said. "[But] in our day and age it's hard to do anything with all of our heart, all our soul, all of our mind" especially in an age with text messaging, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

"I remember those days when you didn't have all of that. You just read the Bible, you just spoke to God."

Chan expressed a deep longing to surrender his life fully to God, to share not only in the resurrection of Jesus but also in the sufferings as Apostle Paul did, and to just be in love with Jesus again.

"This isn't about being a pastor. This is about just being a Christian," he said.

Chan isn't sure yet where God will call him to but he is more confident that it will be in Los Angeles where there are a lot of single moms, fatherless homes and broken families.

Before he left Cornerstone Church, Chan baptized 78 people. He asked only those who were ready to die and willing to give up everything for Jesus to receive the baptism.

"Do not take this lightly," he said.

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