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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Megachurch Pastor Has Change of Heart

Ccoj Brian Burkett has re-printed part of a REV. Magazine article at his blog about Walt Kallestad and the journey he's taken as pastor of megachurch Community Church of Joy in Glendale, AZ.

It's a good read... here's the link.

"Kallestad admits that several people (including long-time leaders) of CCOJ have wondered whether he's "gone off the deep end" with a midlife crisis brought on by a severe heart attack. When asked that question directly, he smiled and said, "Yes, I have gone off the deep end—I've gone deeper into God than ever before. God didn't cause my heart attack, but God had to reshape my heart, my vision, to do a new thing in my life and at this church. Since we opened our new campus in 1998, fewer people in our area are now going to ours or any other church. How does it profit one to build a great church, but lose the community?"

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June 15, 2005 in Leadership Issues, Megachurches | Permalink

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Comments

It's very good to see a mega-church Pastor turning and doing the right thing... because he finally totally surrendered to God and sought Him out (as the article says). Two important excerpts that explain the difference:

"While Kallestad had spent his career focused on land, buildings, finances, programs, and attendance growth, Breen had spent very little time on any of those. Instead, in the 10 years he had been at St. Tom's, he had focused nearly all his energy on building community among the people, nearly all of whom were unchurched and young. Instead of building facilities, raising money, and maintaining administrative structures, Breen invested his time and leadership on training leaders for small groups."

and...

"At St. Tom's and in LifeShapes, Kallestad found the model he had been praying for. St. Tom's emphases were almost all exactly the opposite of CCOJ's. While CCOJ emphasized the large event of entertaining corporate worship, St. Tom's emphasized small-group accountability and was content to worship only once a month as the whole church. While CCOJ was burdened with mortgages and organizational demands, St. Tom's administration was relatively lightweight and low-maintenance. While CCOJ relied on its ordained pastors and other paid staff for virtually all leadership responsibilities, St. Tom's relied almost entirely on lay leadership in small groups and clusters and appeared to be living out what Martin Luther called the "priesthood of all believers.""

...Bernie
http://freegoodnews.blogspot.com/

Posted by: bernie dehler | Jun 15, 2005 10:25:48 AM

Obviously the telltale sign of an effective church is not bricks and mortar or nickels and noses. True success is measured by changed lives. Are our members being assisted in conforming to the character and personality of Jesus Christ?

This kind of mission fulfillment is being realized in churches large and small. Instead of critiquing and criticizing my fellow servants in the gospel, I'd just like to encourage them to stay focused on the objective. Changed lives reflecting the character and personality of Jesus.

When I give advice on evaluating a church for people who may be moving from our area, I tell them to look at their website and try to determine what the support structures are for the Sunday services. Are there fellowship, discipleship, service and other ministry infrastructure in place to support the celebration that takes place on Sunday morning?

I then ask them to call the church and speak to as many leaders as they can to see how they individually articulate how people are being discipled and challenged to grow in grace.

Then I tell them to visit only one church at a time for a minimum of 4 weeks before they make a decision. Visit as many church services (AM, PM, midweek etc. as possible). Anybody can have a good or bad Sunday, but you can better discern a church's personality if you attend 4 weeks in a row.

After a season of prayer you should be able to know the heartbeat of that church and whether it is the best place for you and/or your family.

Many of us in ministry are waking up to the fact that we can have quality ministry with 40, 400 or 4,000 if we pay attention to the simplicity of the mission.

Great article. I hope it doesn't take a heart attack for me to get back on track if I start to drift.

Posted by: pjlr | Jun 15, 2005 10:30:11 AM

We are just beginnning the search for a new pastor and I'm helping with the development of the guidelines for the Search Committee selection process.
One theme I constantly stress is that this is not "our" church, it's GOD'S! What does HE want.
Another is to not think in terms of the type of Pastor we "want" but PRAY in terms of the Pastor we NEED! That can be two entirely different Pastors!
They've gone through Pastors were the programs drove the people and Pastors who loved the people but needed to give leadership to "programs" that provided consistant direction and growth.
Let's see what happens this time!
In Christ
Ben E.

Posted by: Ben E. | Jun 15, 2005 1:11:27 PM

Ben

I'm not sure if it was an oversight or just the use of terms but it seems your post contradicts itself:

First, you say:
We are just beginnning the search for a new pastor and I'm helping with the development of the guidelines for the Search Committee selection process.
One theme I constantly stress is that this is not "our" church, it's GOD'S! What does HE want.

Then you say:
Another is to not think in terms of the type of Pastor we "want" but PRAY in terms of the Pastor we NEED! That can be two entirely different Pastors!

You went from "what does God want" (in your first statement) to what do "we" need (in your second statement).

I'm sure it's a minor oversight and maybe a mistype but I found it peculiar.

My friends may we grow in the Grace and in the Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
BeHim.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 15, 2005 9:23:38 PM

I'm not sure about any mistype but the idea I'm trying to convey is one of the heart.
Do we truly want to seek and follow God's direction and plan for our church, (and our lives) including all of it's potential changes, challenges and difficulties? If we do, then we NEED a Pastor who will lead in that way.
OR, do we WANT someone who won't make us too uncomfortable. Perhaps a change or two, even a mild challenge but in general, cover the bases and not overly rock the boat.
I'm speaking in larger, general terms but that was the point.
Will it be "facilities & mortgages" or "people and community?"
Will it be the same old, same old, or will we seek to be stretched and challenged to follow God with a wonderful "reckless abandon?" I'm pulling for "B"
Ben E

Posted by: Ben E | Jun 16, 2005 1:00:01 AM

Amen and thank you for clarifying.

If you don't mind my sharing and I know this is well of subject but we've kind of started this "side thread" so I'll end with this:

While searching for your new pastor, one who will drive the "B" choice (to follow God with a wonderful "reckless abandon?") consider a major topic in Christian growth and Maturity.

Ask about Sovereignty. This is key to "Knowing" God and THE Christian World View. A Pastor that has a firm grasp and understanding of the Sovereignty of God will teach you to follow God with Wonderful Reckless Abandon. Guaranteed!

My friend may you grow in the Grace and in the Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
BeHim.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 16, 2005 2:07:57 AM

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