Experience Speaks: Bob Merritt

In our Experience Speaks series, Outreach 100 pastors share what they’ve learned about themselves, the church and the definition of success.

Bob Merritt
Eagle Brook Church in St. Paul, Minnesota


As imperfect as every church is, it is still God’s instrument to redeem human lives.


Transformation is not a one-time event but it’s a lifelong process that never ends. There will always be something in me that I need to improve on. But I can delude myself into thinking that I’m beyond all that; that after 30 years of Christian leadership and a pretty good track record, my level of transformation is good enough. But there will always be something in me that needs to change and get better. That’s because of sin, mainly; sins like selfishness, pride, flashes of anger, pettiness and harsh language. But what’s really scary is I can say and do things that are really offensive and destructive, and be totally unaware of it. Others are aware of it, others see it, but I can be totally blind to it. There’s an old saying that goes “The higher the monkey climbs the tree, the more others can see his behind.” So everyone else can see my behind, the question is, “Can I?” I don’t want to be the big ape that can’t see my own rear end. What I’ve learned about myself is that there will always be something in me that needs to change and sometimes I need the help of a professional counselor, mentor or coach to help me see what that is.


Success is being able to teach and lead year after year in a way that reaches people for Christ and grows your church. At about year 10, the congregation has heard every story and original idea that you’ve ever had but the pressure to teach and lead at a high level increases each year. I have to constantly battle through self-doubt and the disappointments that come from unexpected resignations, conflicts and budget shortfalls. To me, success is being able to teach and lead over the long haul so that your church continues to thrive and grow.


Don’t get too excited about the highs or too depressed about the lows. Peaks and valleys are a natural part of church leadership.


St. Paul, Minnesota
Senior Pastor: Bob Merritt
Twitter: @Bob_Merritt
Website: EagleBrookChurch.com
Founded: 1949
Affiliation: Baptist—Converge Worldwide (BGC)
Locations: 6
Attendance: 21,010
Growth in 2014: +1,981 (10%)
Fastest-Growing: 40
Largest: 11

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