This article is from Issue 62: March/April 2013

10 People Who Changed Everything

When we asked our readers who has most impacted their life and faith in the last decade—and from that poll crafted the list you’re about to read—we were surprised by a few things.

First, at how white and male the final list is. (Our founder, Cameron Strang, shares some thoughts about that in his First Word.) And second, the extent of each person’s influence. You may not agree with the theology or politics of each person here, but you can’t deny each one has pioneered the Gospel in a significant way in this new millennium. Here are the 10 people who have most changed the game for our readers in the last 10 years.

Francis Chan

He’s been called irresponsible and even “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” for leaving a thriving church in 2010, where he pastored for 16 years. But for Chan, it was a necessary act to keep himself in check at the height of his career. So, in the wake of Crazy Love’s success, with its 2.2 million copies sold, Chan made a few radical decisions: He would give away the profits from his best-seller and move with his family to one of the poorest regions of the world to pursue a life of service outside the glow of his success. After nine months abroad, Chan and his family then settled in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, where the former megachurch pastor is now going small and focusing on a one-on-one discipleship model of ministry. Call it what you will, Chan simply calls it practicing what he preaches. First we admired his words; now we admire his actions.

Shane Claiborne

Two books and many years after its 2006 release, The Irresistible Revolution—touted as a handbook for “ordinary radicals” that also gave rise to the spreading movement of New Monasticism—is still the book Shane Claiborne is best known for writing.

Today, Claiborne’s dreads are a little longer, but his bandana and simple clothing remain the same—as does his dedication to live simply and serve his inner-city neighbors in Philadelphia through the Simple Way community, which he co-founded in 1998.