Today marks the launch of Mega Fridays, a new, weekly post at From Law to Grace. Every Friday, I’ll share the latest jaw-dropping, perplexing, “you just can’t make this stuff up” gems from some of America’s most well-known celebrity megachurch pastors, many of whom are setting the trends (not all good) that many younger pastors will follow. Every now and then, I’ll pass along a wise word or a particularly encouraging message from some of Evangelicalism’s (and Southern Baptists’) most well-respected non-celebrity megachurch pastors. With limited comment from yours truly, I’ll ask my readers to ponder and answer a few relevant questions related to the post. Some Mega Friday stories will be infuriating while others will be inspirational. Some posts will make you scratch your head and still others would be funny if they were not so sad.
The first Mega Friday story comes to us courtesy of the recent Code Orange Revival at Elevation Church. Steven Furtick, Elevation’s pastor, could be considered an influential voice among many younger pastors, both inside and outside the SBC. I don’t believe in “guilt by association,” but I do believe who we choose to elevate as role models in our own ministries — particularly the preaching ministry — says much about our own wisdom and discernment as men (and women) called to proclaim the Word of God in every generation.
One of the speakers at the Code Orange Revival was none other than T.D. Jakes. I won’t rehash the arguments surrounding the wisdom of inviting Jakes to take part in Elephant Room 2. Although I have my own thoughts on the matter, I would encourage you to read Dwight McKissic’s excellent post-Elephant Room 2 analysis (including links to those who still opposed Jakes’ participation). It’s clear that Bishop Jakes has had an enormous influence on Steven Furtick and his own ministry at Elevation Church. Furtick, who called T.D. Jakes “the greatest preacher of our time,” admitted that not only had he “ripped off” Bishop Jakes’ sermons, but that “every preacher who has anything to say rips off Bishop T.D. Jakes”
I can’t speak for any other pastor, but it has never, ever crossed my mind to borrow or “rip off” anything of T.D. Jakes. I don’t believe I have even quoted Jakes in any form or fashion and I don’t have any plans to do so anytime soon. Of course, I have just admitted that this fact makes me a preacher who has nothing to say. That’s okay. Nothing I say matters anyway. I just hope that God, through His Word, has something to say to His people.
So, take a look at Pastor Furtick’s introduction of Bishop T.D. Jakes and ask yourself:
- Do you agree with Pastor Furtick that every preacher who has anything to say rips off Bishop T.D. Jakes?
- Do you agree that T.D. Jakes is the greatest preacher of our time?
- Do our role models in ministry — especially the pastors who we choose to elevate — reveal anything about our own wisdom and discernment?
A generation of Southern Baptist and Evangelical pastors is being influenced by other pastors, many of whom are serving in large churches with a wide reach (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But, is John Piper the same as T.D. Jakes the same as Matt Chandler the same as Steven Furtick? I know how I would answer that question. How about you?