Stanley vs. Stanley

Last year at SBL I was sitting with a group of scholars and pastors and someone mentioned the name Andy Stanley who is the Pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta. The three Aussie guys in the room just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Who?” We were then informed that he was the senior pastor of the largest church in America.

I came across a fascinating article on CNN about Two Preaching Giants and the “Betrayal” that Tore them Apart. It the story of the father-son relationship between Charles Stanley and his son Andy Stanley. It’s a remarkable story of mega-pastor hype, church politics, divorce, father-son antagonism, and ultimately about reconciliation.

When your dad preaches a sermon on king David and uses you as an example of Absalom, you know things are not going well!

Things I learned from the article: (1) We have to stop treating pastors as celebrities; (2) No matter how good your ministry is, it ain’t worth sacrificing your marriage for; (3) Don’t ever think of yourself as or try to make yourself irreplaceable; (4) Pastors should be made to retire at 70; and (5) Children do not exist for the purpose of magnifying your ego.

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  • Gary Ware

    Reading these chapters of Deep and Wide was a disquieting experience.
    In addition with your points above, while recognising that calls to pastoral ministry do run through generations of some families, I’ve never been comfortable with the notion of local church as family business.

    • Patrick

      Started off weird IMO when I read that old man Stanley had to “fight” to become the preacher. I envision God calling one to fulfill the gift of pastor w/o our having to fight for it or any specific pulpit.