Andy Stanley Apologizes

I like this honest apology on Andy’s part, but I’ve only clipped a bit…. go to the link to see the whole:

With your message streaming online, you have people from the outsidewho are not part of your congregationlistening in. This sermon ended up being heard, and criticized, by so many people outside of North Point.

Yes, exactly. And just like me, they listen through their filter. If I were discussing this issue with church leaders, I wouldn’t have said anything about the size of a local church. When it comes to passion for the next generation, size really doesn’t matter. I can understand how pastors and volunteers in small churches felt like I was gunning for them. Based on what I said, how could they not?

Church leaders who are leading and building Great Commission-centered churches want their churches to grow. There’s nothing wrong with a small church… and by “small” I don’t mean anything less than “mega,” which is apparently what some folks took me to be saying. But I’ve never met a student pastor who wouldn’t be thrilled with the challenge of having to divide middle school kids from high school kids because she or he had so many kids coming to church. Student leaders who know their stuff know it’s best to create separate environments for middle school and high school kids. However it takes time to grow a student ministry, and depending upon the size and location of the community, there may never be enough students to pull that off.

My gripe is with the grown ups who are anti-growth because they like their church just the way it is. Truth be known, most pastors—regardless of their church size—are not fans of adult attendees who are resistant to change and growth.

You told parents they should leave small churches and put their kids in large or larger churches—and you chastised them for caring “nothing about the next generation” if they stay in their small churches.

While that may be true for some parents, it was extraordinarily irresponsible for me to suggest that this is the responsible thing for every parent to do. It’s not. How could I possibly know what every parent should do? My comment was way out of bounds.

No one should force their kids to attend a church they hate simply because mom and/or dad like it. What many folks heard me say, that I don’t believe, is that all parents who attend a small church should take their kids out of their small church and put them in a large church.

The bottom line is that parents who prioritize their church experience over their children’s experience should reconsider, and to do otherwise is selfish. But that’s not exactly what I said.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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