There’s an article in the July issue of Church Executive that just came out last week entitled “Who Speaks Up?” I was skimming the article nodding along with most of what the author was saying until I saw my name. Then all of the sudden it became personal and I stopped to reflect.
Ron Keener wrote,
“I have to wonder: Who speaks for the church now? Billy Graham is 94 in November and we miss his presence in the pulpit. Franklin Graham has a strong message but his attention is rightfully overseas and focused on the parachurch.
When CNN’s Larry King wanted a point of view from the evangelical church he went to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, as if either of them really spoke for the church-at-large. Occasionally John McArthur, now 72, showed up at the “Kings Table,” and one or two other well-known preachers.
Many of the best speakers for the faith, and for the church in the world, keep busy with their own congregations and avoid the national media scene. Chuck Smith Sr. is 84 and ailing. Charles Stanley is 80. Churck Swindoll and Jack Hayford were born in 1934.
“Where are the “young bucks” within the church who bring it fresh thinking? And I don’t mean universalist Rob Bell. Such as David Platt, Pete Wilson, Mark Batterson, Randy Frazee or Rick Rusaw? They are so silent.
The church is under attack like no other time, and if responsible church men and women don’t speak up on its behalf int these turbulent social and cultural times, other, not so well meaning, will.
I appreciate Ron Keener and his concern even if he did somewhat call me out. I understand what’s he’s saying and he asks some valid questions.
Here’s my thoughts on this.
I’ve never felt called or led to be a talking head for the evangelical church. My understanding is that talking heads make points. I don’t want my life and ministry to be about making points.
To borrow a line from Andy Stanley, “I rather make a difference than a point“.
Sure, I can go on television and make some “points”, maybe gain a few fans, get the applause of some church people. But in the process I alienate the very people that are far from God who I want to reach through my ministry.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve seen very few lives changes with preachers engaging the media and making very well crafted points. I’m not sure anyone cares about our points. I’m afraid that in making our points we forget about the very people we’re trying to reach with our points. There’s nothing wrong with making points, I just think we might have a greater calling.
I’ll make some points in a message.
I’ll make some points in my books.
Along the way I hope some of my points may make you think, question, or even take action.
But more than anything. I want my life and ministry to be focused on making a difference.
So if the evangelical church is looking for a talking head that will cruise the media circuits trying to make points… I think I’ll pass.
If the evangelical church is looking for some pastors that want to go out and make a point by first making a difference… then you can count me in.