Each year, we speak with several Outreach 100 pastors in an effort to collect their honest observations about the church, their ministries and their experiences.
Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas
There are four areas of my life I make sure to protect and keep healthy: my spiritual tank, my physical tank, my emotional tank and my mental tank. I fill my spiritual tank by reading God’s Word. I fill my physical tank by eating right and exercising but also resting. I fill my emotional tank by spending time with loved ones. Lastly, I fill my mental tank in several ways; one is by reading historical books.
Many have influenced me along the way, including Olen Griffing and James Robison. I consider both of these men my spiritual fathers, and each has poured into my life. I’ve also been greatly influenced by Pastor Jack Hayford. He had a very nonconfrontational way of humbly presenting Scripture and his beliefs. He caused me to start thinking about Scripture differently, and now he is a spiritual father to me and a spiritual grandfather to Gateway Church.
When dealing with criticism and praise, I lean on the Word of God and am reminded of passages such as 2 Corinthians 10:12 and Luke 6:22-23. I know that as a pastor, everything I do should be for the Lord. It only matters that I hear God and obey what he says. As I shepherd his sheep, I must lead as he’s called me to lead. I have an audience of one—and that’s God.
Many churches have become apathetic toward reaching the lost. Unfortunately, not enough churches offer a safe place for people to come and deal with hurts and issues while experiencing true spiritual growth.
What excites me is how many new churches are being planted and started every week. Church is not about competition. Any time I hear about a new church starting up in our area, I celebrate! There are plenty of lost and hurting people in every community seeking purpose, significance and eternal answers. The church has opportunities to reach new people every day, whether it’s our church or the church down the street.
Online church is more popular now than ever before, and I see that growing even bigger in the future. Yet, even with online church, people today crave an authentic experience and relationship with God as they deal with the reality and pressures of life. Church is a place for people to come who need to be saved, healed and set free, so they can be discipled, equipped, empowered and released to serve. People are looking for real, authentic relationships, with God and others. They’re not interested in being entertained by a Sunday morning performance. What’s compelling to those who are seeking God and their purpose and meaning in life is entering into the presence of the Lord.