Ed Stetzer Visits Calvary Albuquerque- Keep Focused on God’s Mission
By Jocelyn Hu
If Twitter is a reliable gauge on friendship, Ed Stetzer has lots of friends. Clocking in at 130,100 followers, Ed has tweeted over 42,000 tweets. The amount of communication given by Stetzer is understandable once you realize he is a researcher, specializing on the church, with an emphasis on leadership.
According to his online biography, Ed Stetzer "is the President of LifeWay Research Division, a prolific author, and well-known conference and seminar leader. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books."
What the online biography doesn't state is that Ed is a witty fellow.
I only know this because Stetzer recently spoke at Calvary Albuquerque, conducting interviews and chatting with the staff. As he walked into the video room at Calvary Albuquerque, Pastor Skip joked about his long goatee beard.
"Oh, this thing," he says, pulling on the beard. "I was in a midlife crisis, and I thought it would be cheaper than an expensive car."
These were the first words out of his mouth. With this quip, I knew I'd like Mr. Stetzer.
Ed Stetzter and Skip Heotzig in a video interview at Calvary, Albuquerque
Over the course of the interview Pastor Skip asked many questions concerning the state of the Church. Stetzer supplied the goods. Just a smatter of his responses brings hope for evangelicalism:
"Statistically, evangelicalism isn't collapsing..."
"Convictional Christians make up 25% of Christians in the US. This number has not changed in several years..."
However, nominal (non-convictional; those that don't take their faith too seriously) "are thinking more progressively, following the sway of political and or social norms."
When Pastor Skip asked what keeps churches robust, Stezer gave more insight:
"The number one factor is daily engagement with the Bible..."
"A church that teaches Scripture, delivers a Christian worldview that is engaging and relevant..."
When Pastor Skip asked about the nature of ministering to the people in our current culture, Stetzer stated,
"Teach the Bible..."
"Ground people in a Biblical worldview..."
"Encourage adults to invest in the lives of younger Christians..."
"Make a direct effort to encourage the drifters (those that leave the church or church hop) to stay put..."
Stetzer also mentioned the role fathers play in helping shape the faith of children.
All great insight.
But it was his teaching in I Peter 4: 10-11 that Stetzer was able to speak to the Christian in the pew. In the message, Stetzer highlighted four elements found within the text.
One, all Christians have gifts.
Two, God intends all Christians to use the gifts God has given.
Three, God empowers Christians to use the gifts, in and through the Church.
Four, when we use the gifts God has given and empowered us to use, God is glorified.
The overall gist of the message was a challenge for Christians to become engaged in the local church, serving and surrendering to God's greater purposes in the community and world.
Again, great insight.
In addition to his wit and wisdom, Stetzer was full of questions about the Calvary Chapel movement, stating that "he's a fan," and "you can't underestimate the profound effect Calvary Chapel has had on the evangelical world, particularly through the worship."
Skip and Ed: Gotta love the beard
Stetzer, in turn, asked Pastor Skip engaging question concerning the growth of Calvary Albuquerque and the nature of ministry-all caught on video.
So, though Stetzer has lots of followers-both in social media and in person-his natural ability to exhort and encourage the Church to follow Christ is engaging, keeping it personal and individual-as though he was talking to just you in a living room.
These characteristics give feet to his firm conviction that the Gospel should be "articulated in a winsome and convincing way."
We do well to take heed and follow his advice; or, as he inscribed in my copy his book Transformational Church: "Keep focused on God's mission."