CNLP 413: Francis Chan on Escalating Division, Asian Hate, and Why Influence in the Church Can’t Come from Self-Promotion

Francis Chan has become convicted that division in the church is escalating and causing deep harm. He also thinks it’s tied to the desire for celebrity and influence so many leaders have.

Francis also talks about racial division and his experience as an Asian-American who has been the target of discrimination.

Welcome to Episode 413 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey shares a few thoughts on unity, division and the Church.

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Conversation Links

Until Unity by Francis Chan

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan

You and Me Forever by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

CNLP 313: Francis Chan Clarifies What’s Next for Him, Talks About the Impact of Social Media on Real People, Apologizes for the Confusion, and Talks About the Future of the U.S. Church

CNLP 218: Francis Chan on Battling Pride and Fame, Why He Left His Megachurch, and his Airbnb Church Experiment

ChurchPulse Weekly, Episode 038: Francis Chan, Part 1

Carey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

After the U.S. Election: 3 Things the Culture Needs Right Now That the Church Can Give by Carey Nieuwhof

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Insights From Francis

1. When it comes to racial justice, be quick to listen

During the interview, Francis talked about how he has been somewhat unaware of the depths of the struggles of the Native American people in America until a few days before the time of recording.  He’d went and stayed the night on a reservation. Going there, seeing how they live, and asking questions about them opened his eyes to their struggle.

He thinks that this year has started a listening and learning process for many similar to what he experienced, and would encourage all of us to lean in and listen to those with a different experience than us.

2. As Christian leaders, decreasing our own name is a great way forward

When Francis was serving the underground church in China, a Chinese pastor told him:

“You Americans keep thinking that you have to become popular to have an impact. But in China and the underground church, it was those who were most hidden that had the most impact, the greatest impact, because we couldn’t be found.”

This made Francis ask himself, “Could it be possible that me being quieter, and in the presence of God and doing more things that are unseen, will actually have a greater impact in lifting up the name of Jesus?”

As a Christian leader, ask yourself whose name you are working to increase. Yours, or Christ’s?

3. The Western Church is being deeply damaged by division and outrage

So much of the Western church has been hijacked by ideology, political division and outrage. This has caused pastors to blacklist each other, entire denominations to split repeatedly and nearly an entire generation to walk away from the church.

This isn’t helping the gospel reach more people. If we’re going to move forward, we need to move forward together—even if we disagree.

Quotes from Episode 413

No one ever hears the apology as loudly as they hear that initial biting, angry thought. @crazylove Click To Tweet If you feel nothing for people outside of your little circle, I've got to question whether the Spirit is in you. @crazylove Click To Tweet I think most leaders in America are thinking, 'I must increase so that He can increase.' We think it's up to us. @crazylove Click To Tweet I had a very casual attitude towards Christian unity, and I think it's because it just felt like it was impossible. @crazylove Click To Tweet I thought I was pretty sensitive to the Black Lives Matter movement. But you really can't understand it 'til it's you. @crazylove Click To Tweet It was the first time it really hit me and hurt me and it's like, 'So just because of my nationality?' It was devastating. @crazylove Click To Tweet Anyone who pursues unity will be accused of, 'Oh, you just want unity at the expense of truth.' Well, would it be possible that you want both? @crazylove Click To Tweet Could it be possible that me being quieter, and being in the presence of God and doing more things that are unseen, will actually have a greater impact in lifting up the name of Jesus? @crazylove Click To Tweet It's easier to be divisive than it is to be unifying. Click To Tweet A blaming culture needs a confessing church. Click To Tweet You'll never address what you don't confess. Click To Tweet A divided nation needs a united church. Click To Tweet If God has all the same opinions you do, you're probably not worshiping God. Click To Tweet In a divided culture, Christians should be the help and the hope, not the hate. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 413

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.


Every time I preach, there are 10 things I check to make sure that my sermon is ready to go.

I outline those 10 things inside the Preaching Cheat Sheet.

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Next Episode: Tim Keller

Tim Keller shares some personal reflections about his recent battle with pancreatic cancer and how it’s causing him to rethink his beliefs about God and suffering, drawing him even more deeply into truths he used to only partially understand. Tim also reflects on what a year of crisis has done to the church, and shares some thoughts on the future of the church, how culture has changed in the last year, and what needs to happen next.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 414.

CNLP 413: Francis Chan on Escalating Division, Asian Hate, and Why Influence in the Church Can’t Come from Self-Promotion


  1. jigsaw puzzle on May 31, 2021 at 5:06 am

    another great post comes out
    thank you, Carey!

  2. Ben McDonald on May 1, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you so much Carey & Francis for this amazing episode. Unity in the church is something that God has really been speaking to me, and trying to bring about change in our community… something that’s been tried several times and failed – all because we’ve been about building our own kingdom (church) vs building His Kingdom (Church). John 17 he says unity, one, unified 5x. There a special glory and anointing that comes when we are United as the Church and I believe this is what needs to happen next for the Church to become what God intended it to be.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 3, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Love it Ben! Francis is such a gift.

  3. Jake chacko on April 30, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Together with my middle daughter learning leadership in early career and who is now a fan, I continue to be blessed by Carey’s podcast. Now I find myself looking for the nuggets in “ I’m thinking about… “ section as much as the discussion with the guest.
    Carey’s interview with Francis Chan took me way back to my early childhood in Calcutta and the Salvation Army Major drilling a group of us at St. Paul’s Cathedral on John the Baptist saying , “ He must increase, but I must decrease.” Then Carey wraps with 1. A blaming culture needs a confessing church.” 2. A divided nation needs a unified church.
    So good!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 30, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      So glad to hear that Jake!

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