“I let the congregation know constantly that they are loved. They get ‘beaten up’ in the world; they don’t need it from the pulpit.”
We asked pastors of some of the nation’s largest churches to reflect on the wisdom they’ve gained along their ministry journey. There’s a lot we can glean in the words that follow, regardless of the scope and circumstances of our own ministry.
First Assembly of God in Ft. Myers, Florida
Missions—global evangelism—is the primary thrust of this church. We respond strongly to our Lord’s Great Commission. Every miracle of divine provision—looking back on 30 years of pastoring this church—I attribute directly or indirectly to missions.
Every pastor can testify of “God moments,” I’m sure. Sometimes those moments involve the people who come to Christ, or those times of “divine supply,” etc. The “God moments” to me involve the peace and tranquility in the church. I have not heard an unkind or un-Christian word in years, and there are thousands who attend regularly.
This church preaches the Word, as Paul admonished Timothy to do (2 Tim. 4). It is essential to me that people know the Scriptures. I am always delighted at the crowds who come to Bible study on Wednesday night—often as many as 1,800 to 2,000. When I stand before God one day, I want to be able to say honestly, “Your Word was priority in this pulpit—not history, not philosophy, not politics, not self-esteem.”
I learned early that the only person I needed to be vitally concerned about had nail prints in his hands. I learned that from a man who helped me so greatly early in the ministry, Rex Humbard. I learned early to stay out of church politics. I have been ministering now for about 60 years. Jesus must be the center of everything.
I read constantly—at least two, usually three, books weekly. I watch the great educators and preachers on YouTube for hours each week. I am 80 but still am ravenous to learn.
I let the congregation know constantly that they are loved and appreciated and that I am thankful for them. They get “beaten up” in the world all week long; they don’t need it from me from the pulpit. Many attend here whose lifestyles are not biblical; yet, they come because they know they will be loved and encouraged to find God’s ultimate plan for their lives.
FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Ft. Myers, Florida
Affiliation: Assemblies of God
A 2017 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH