Ron Vietti: Bring the Message to the People

We asked pastors of some of the nation’s largest churches to share their thoughts on church growth, discipleship, outreach and faithful ministry.

Ron Vietti, Lead Pastor
Valley Bible Fellowship
Bakersfield, California

We have changed focus from getting people into the seats of the big sanctuary to bringing the message to people in their preferred comfort zone. We are doing this and growing. We have been asking ourselves some hard questions: Do we need to establish more neighborhood-style campuses? Make more of a community out of the online audience and take some seats out of the auditorium? It seems to be working.

I was speaking on a Sunday morning and was really tired. In my mind my sermon was horrible. I immediately went home and told God how sorry I was and that I would not let that happen again. I was just so sure that we would lose people. The next week the attendance was larger than ever. I felt God say, “I am building my house and there is nothing you can really do to mess it up as long as you are correctable.”

I have learned that a deep love and personal concern for every leader is what matters the most. If that is not present, everything else I do and say is just noise.

When I first started out, I wish someone would have told me to pray and study more, and to stop trying to emulate the pastors that I so much admired. I needed to be who God made me to be. The same Holy Spirit who was guiding them and anointing them would do the same for me, but using my own personality.

I read a lot because I need to know what the world is thinking as well as the church. I constantly challenge what I have been taught to make sure it is in sync with what the Bible actually teaches.

We must love one another before we can love the world. In order to do that, we must be willing to agree to disagree. The church has really been bad at that. I know it is so cliché and out of fashion to say, “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” But I think this statement has too much truth to be ignored. It needs to be a regained mind-set of the church.

Read more candid conversations with Outreach 100 pastors »

Twitter: @RonVietti
Founded: 1975
Denomination: Nondenominational
Locations: 8
Attendance: 11,089
Largest: 21

Lora Schrock
Lora Schrock

Lora Schrock is editor of Outreach magazine.