Andy Stanley: if you don't attend large church, you don't care about your kids

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Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
It is precisely this pop-evangelicalism (on so many fronts) that is the real danger to kids and adults alike...... Sorry Andy, no soup for you......
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I attend a small church. Most of the time my kids are the only youth group. My daughter's Sunday School class has an enrollment of one: herself.

But I did some figuring through the church roster and see that 75% of the adult children of our members are professing, church membership Christians. So we have a 75% "retention rate" for all of our smallness, thus far, and of course I trust that some who have strayed will return.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
What gets me about this clip is the extreme arrogance he is displaying. He is apparently shocked and irritated because there are people out there who don't want to attend his brand of mega church, and his response is to childishly dismiss the vast majority of the church that does not think the way that he does. Amazingly petty and arrogant.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
you don't care about your kids and you are teaching them to hate church
Tell that to the youngsters in our church. They love singing psalms. A 2 year old toddler always comes running up to me Lord's Day morning saying "sing! sing!"

The early teens in our midst ask serious questions about theology. The high school levels explain theology to their younger peers.

But we are big--in attitude, anyway. We typically have around 40-50 in attendance which seems like a blessing.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
you don't care about your kids and you are teaching them to hate church
Tell that to the youngsters in our church. They love singing psalms. A 2 year old toddler always comes running up to me Lord's Day morning saying "sing! sing!"

The early teens in our midst ask serious questions about theology. The high school levels explain theology to their younger peers.

But we are big--in attitude, anyway. We typically have around 40-50 in attendance which seems like a blessing.
So you sing Psalms at your reformed Baptist church- do you mind my asking how this was introduced? Of course this is straying from the OP, but if you could tell really quickly I'd be so interested.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
So you sing Psalms at your reformed Baptist church- do you mind my asking how this was introduced? Of course this is straying from the OP, but if you could tell really quickly I'd be so interested.
It wasn't hard at all. For one thing, I found myself appointed to be the one who chose what to sing because of my music background and ability to sight-sing without accompaniment. I discussed things with our pastor and suggested we replace the old Isaac Watts Psalters with Trinity Psalters because they were better and easily available.

Besides, our sister churches, Trinity Baptist in Kirkland WA and Providence RBC in Tacoma WA (which planted our church here decades ago) used the same psalters, so it wasn't particularly radical.

We do sing also from the Red Trinity Hymnal, but, funny thing, most of what we have come to sing from that are psalms or near-psalms, too.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I wonder if Stanley thought the parents who brought their children to his church when it was small were out to "hurt" children.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I wonder if Stanley thought the parents who brought their children to his church when it was small were out to "hurt" children.
His church was never small. Because he is the son of a famous pastor, his church opened with much fanfare and was large right from the start.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not surprised at his statement. Even if he retracted it, I am almost altogether convinced that he still endorses it. It's just like the time he said that people who preach verse-by-verse through Scripture are "cheating" because "that would be easy" and it's "not how you grow people."
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I wonder if Stanley thought the parents who brought their children to his church when it was small were out to "hurt" children.
He split with his father over the divorce related backtracking. He started big and grew from there.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
C
I wonder if Stanley thought the parents who brought their children to his church when it was small were out to "hurt" children.
He split with his father over the divorce related backtracking. He started big and grew from there.
In that case did old Stanley's church hurt kids back in the early days.
Well his father's church was hardly ever small either, but yes in some ways it seems that Stanley's entire ecclesiology is built on the discontent he has over his childhood and growing up in his father's church.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Who is this guy? I mean, look at the way he's dressed; the way he speaks; the way he acts; the way his "church" is designed. I doubt this man is regenerate.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Who is this guy? I mean, look at the way he's dressed; the way he speaks; the way he acts; the way his "church" is designed. I doubt this man is regenerate.
I can't speak as to his regeneration, but as far as who he is, he is the pastor of the second largest church in the United States. http://www.outreachmagazine.com/2013-outreach-100-largest-churches-america.html
Oh dear, look who his immediate neighbours are in that list.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Who is this guy? I mean, look at the way he's dressed; the way he speaks; the way he acts; the way his "church" is designed. I doubt this man is regenerate.
I can't speak as to his regeneration, but as far as who he is, he is the pastor of the second largest church in the United States. http://www.outreachmagazine.com/2013-outreach-100-largest-churches-america.html
Oh dear, look who his immediate neighbours are in that list.
Indeed. Not exactly the spiritual and theological giants of our age.
 

Dwimble

Puritan Board Freshman
This immediately brought to mind this A.W. Tozer quote:
"Those Christians who belong to the evangelical wing of the church (which I firmly believe is the only one that even approximates New Testament Christianity) have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with things invisible and eternal and have demanded and got a host of things visible and temporal to satisfy their fleshly appetites. Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God's professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.

Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, "But we are winning them!" And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world's treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no."

From chapter 30 of "Man - The Dwelling Place of God" by A.W. Tozer
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
In that case did old Stanley's church hurt kids back in the early days.
The elder Stanley came to a large church, and it stayed large after he moved it to the suburbs. Charles Stanley came to First Baptist Atlanta in 1969; Andy was born in 1958. So Andy would have spent all of his teen years at a megachurch. He split in 1995. (He did his seminary training at DTS in Dallas.)
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
In that case did old Stanley's church hurt kids back in the early days.
The elder Stanley came to a large church, and it stayed large after he moved it to the suburbs. Charles Stanley came to First Baptist Atlanta in 1969; Andy was born in 1958. So Andy would have spent all of his teen years at a megachurch. He split in 1995. (He did his seminary training at DTS in Dallas.)
I guess Andy's are sound then. ;)
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I like the Tozer quote. I'm glad he apologized (I hope he means he repented). His "sin" was articulating what a lot of people practically believe. I've seen parents leave Church for another that taught a watered down Gospel because they wanted a youth group for their kids.

I do understand the draw. I'm not against the idea of having a youth group. Kids need peer friends and parents want those friends to be Christian. The challenge for a small Church is that you can't just make that happen.

People live very busy lives these days escorting their kids for all their activities. A Church that can provide a space for those activities has a huge advantage because the Church becomes a nearly daily hub for kids and parents to become friends and people want to worship with their friends.

I'm not saying that it's the Church's mission to become the "city square" but those that offer this have that advantage that a small Church can never match.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I am troubled when parents make decisions about which church to attend based primarily upon youth activities. That rarely trains kids to aspire to an adult place in the congregation. This is especially troubling when it sends a family out church shopping.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I understand the position he's articulating and there was a time when I would have sympathized. The fact is, however, that large youth groups in large churches tend to rely more on gimmicks than actual discipleship because they're understaffed and gimmicks get kids in more easily than the hard work of building relationships. I say this as one who, in high school, kind of envied the kids who went to bigger churches with more money to throw at youth groups. The fact is, though, I was discipled more by the relationship with the youth pastor at my home church than they ever were.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not saying that it's the Church's mission to become the "city square" but those that offer this have that advantage that a small Church can never match.
The trouble is that Stanley's idea of a large church is likely much bigger than what we would conceive. Stanley has something like 20,000 plus in his church, and so he would likely consider a church of 1000 to still be too small. I live in a town that only has 2000 residents, and so it would be simply impossible for any church in our area to even approach what he would consider to be acceptable. What makes his statement so offensive is that not only has he condemned and marginalized upwards of 90% of the churches in the world, but he has simultaneously consigned large areas of the world to a church life that is inevitably child-hating.
 

BGF

Puritan Board Sophomore

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Although short, Todd Pruitt's thoughtful response resonates with me.

The concluding paragraph especially:

I don’t mean to be uncharitable but a Twitter “oops” is not sufficient for such hubris and pastoral malpractice. Perhaps Andy would consider going back to the drawing board and rethinking his whole idea of what the church is. Hey, a guy can dream.
I read the same type of sentiment from a good friend.

"I am going to assume that he is going to publicly apologize with the seriousness the matter deserves at his next public appearance. Charity demands that I expect him to do that, and not simply buy himself off an extremely unbiblical and uncharitable public statement in the context of preaching, with a tweet."
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
his church opened with much fanfare and was large right from the start.
I thought this sentence read, "...and was a large riot from the start." Double-take, and revise.

Also, to moderate a moment: bin the omniscient, heart-reading bits. To whom it may concern.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm not saying that it's the Church's mission to become the "city square" but those that offer this have that advantage that a small Church can never match.
The trouble is that Stanley's idea of a large church is likely much bigger than what we would conceive. Stanley has something like 20,000 plus in his church, and so he would likely consider a church of 1000 to still be too small. I live in a town that only has 2000 residents, and so it would be simply impossible for any church in our area to even approach what he would consider to be acceptable. What makes his statement so offensive is that not only has he condemned and marginalized upwards of 90% of the churches in the world, but he has simultaneously consigned large areas of the world to a church life that is inevitably child-hating.
Bill,

I think his comments were reprehensible and I really think it was what he really thinks is keeping children in the faith. I agree with Todd Pruitt that a tweeted "Oops" hardly solves the problem. I think the whole mega-Church model is fraught with many issues.

What I'm trying to articulate are my own struggles as an Elder in a small Church and what I see as the attraction that not necessarily a mega-Church offers but even just a Church with its own property and a certain "critical mass" of people can do that a small Church simply cannot. I'm not saying I want to abandon the Small Church in favor of a larger Church but I am just trying to articulate why it is that small Churches have trouble keeping certain families with children.

It helps that I'm in a Presbyterian Church and our sister Church (about 15 miles away) has about 400 members (compared to our 100 people on any given Sunday). We rent and only get the building a couple days out of the week (which is actually an improvement to when we only had the building a few hours on Sunday in another location).

I don't believe there is any Biblical requirement for a youth program or youth activities but a Church that has a building that affords those activities is helpful. We are pretty spread out in this region and it's hard to find friends our kids age. We're involved in a Covenant School (sort of a glorified homeschool co-op) that meets at the sister Church so our kids have friends there but only about two of our families from our Church attend there.

I'm not too thrilled by the cultural pattern that people are pretty much slammed throughout the week with various scheduling things like sports and music activities so what some Churches are able to do is to offer some of those things for free and the Church becomes the place where, instead of everyone being scattered, they end up at that Church. Instead of only seeing each other on Sunday, they see each other throughout the week.

Again, I'm not saying this is the Biblical requirement but I'm articulating the inherent advantage that a larger Church has with a certain family who wants their kids involved in activities and then find no time/energy for actual fellowship with members of their Church. I actually think that the "activities" can mask the fact that many don't really have fellowship as much as friendship and a common meeting place.

I could go on but I'm just trying to explain why it's tough not being a big Church at times to keep people. I think Stanley is a perfect example of someone who just doubled down on the heartache that small Churches feel when they lose families to this phenomena and he pretty much rubbed their nose in it. A tweeted "I apologize" is hardly the answer but I don't expect much reflection on the phenomena of the kind of Church he represents and what this has done to the Body of Christ to weaken it fundamentally.
 
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