Words of Wisdom from Chuck Swindoll

If I had to name one senior person in ministry who has most impacted me from a distance as a believer, it would probably be Chuck Swindoll. I grew in my faith listening to his radio program and reading his books. He was contemporary and applicable in his preaching and not afraid to be innovative in reaching people.

I recently read an article in Leadership Journal interviewing Swindoll on his newest book, The Church Awakening. I haven’t read the book, but the article says some things that caught my attention and I intend to read it.

He says things like:

  • “When a church is spending more of its budget on media than shepherding, something is out of whack.”
  • “We must make sure that new things actually help people grow in the truth, that they edify the saints and build them up.”
  • “We try to keep it simple so that the pizzazz doesn’t become the reason to bring a neighbor.”
  • “I let people see the cracks in my life. We can’t be phony. We’ve got to keep it real.”

Read the article HERE, then come back to this post and reflect on what Swindoll is saying to younger pastors and church leaders.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know at first glance that I agree with everything he said, and I’ll read the book for more clarity, but I did read the article and Swindoll makes some bold statements. I believe in listening to the wisdom of elders too. Could there be a word here for the church?

What are your thoughts about where the church is now or is going in worship planning?

Are we putting too much emphasis or spending too much money on technology?

How do we balance the tension of reaching people uninterested in the church, yet making sure we always honor Christ in worship?

Is this a word from the wise or a dear wise pastor who is also struggling with the changing times?

Let me hear your thoughts.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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18 thoughts on “Words of Wisdom from Chuck Swindoll

  1. Ron, the third question you posed struck me. Perhaps I've misinterpreted the intent of the question, but I wonder if the answer to that is a different question entirely. It seems that we often try to balance the tension between God-honoring worship and reaching people in the context of the corporate gathering. I'm becoming more convinced that it may not be possible to answer that question in that context.

    Maybe it's time to step back and answer the hard questions of what is the church supposed to do together when it gathers as the Body of Christ. And, then, how do we fulfill the Great Commission in our communities and the nations beyond? Maybe the answer to reaching isn't found in the corporate gathering, but using the corporate worship gathering and things like small groups to equip and build up the Body to go and build relationships with friends and co-workers.

    In no way am I against the use of technology and media in worship and to communicate. I'm a big fan of those things. But if that indeed does become a greater driving force than the communication of the truth and love of God, we may have missed something. I've seen churches use and spend on technology to bring great glory to God. I've also seen some that is so focused on technology, that worship is nothing more than a big show with a sheen of Jesus.

    I hope I haven't hijacked the discussion thread. But instead of trying to balance Christ-honoring expressions and reaching uninterested people in and through worship, the answer is to send/equip our people to go to where their uninterested friends are and live a life that demonstrates the sufficiency and greatness of Christ. Then, when they do show up, the worship will further help them see Christ as Lord – whether it's technological or not.

    • I love it. I didn't have answers when I wrote the post and wasn't even sure I knew my take on the article completely. I like to ask questions and seek dialogue. I love your thoughts. I'm open to what works in accomplishing what we are to do in corporate worship…glorify God and exalt His name. I love some of the discussion that's taking place around this subject. My youngest son and I talked about it yesterday. I agree, we need to be asking bigger questions. Thanks Chris.

  2. Wisdom does come with age but she also cries out in the streets wanting to be heard by all…a bit of technology to allow for an ear to hear seems appropriate for this day amd age.

  3. There is some wisdom here. Though I am confused by how a church is to spend more money on shepherding than media. In fact, I am not really sure how a church is to go about spending money on shepherding, and media is really, really expensive. I'm really curious about how to spend money on shepherding.

  4. I am with Laurinda, the church always waits until non-christians have the advantage and know how to react and see if they can reverse the trend. Instead of trying to be first and starting the trend. Let's use our God given talents before they are taken away from us(parable of the talents…remember?) for the Glory of His name and to promote the Gospel every day everywhere. @ Nate help me out, give me some examples of less and simple.

  5. Unfortunately, today the churches feel that they need the glam quotient to retain the crowd. That's when they start to spend more of their budget on media than shepherding. And, churches feel that technology is of paramont importance to maintain their 'so called status' / 'star image' in the eyes of the public. No one wants any lesser amout of sophistication.

    • I agree with another commenter…how do you not spend more on media…it's expensive and shepherding is usually free…or a cup of coffee sometimes. There's such a balance of issues here though. Thanks!

  6. If the message is the same you can change the packaging to attract a different generation.

    The problem is the church is so slow to adopt new technology. Then when it takes off in the World we make a Christian version of it. I think we are stuck in a cycle of ignorance. We are to be separate from the world and I believe that separation comes when we lead the world in creating new technology etc… I think we'll find on judgement day that the Lord was pouring out all these new inventions for the church and we will be held accountable for not taking them up. I think the spirit of creativity is on California/Hollywood because the church rejected motion pictures as evil and refused it. 100+ years later, we want Hollywood to create more Faith based movies or praying that Christians infiltrate Hollywood.

    We've done the same thing with the internet. 20 years ago it was how the anti-Christ was going to infiltrate the church. I remember hearing sermons on that. Now it's standard to have a website for your church.

    that's my 2 cents worth.

    • Just wanted to say thank you for those honest words. Sometimes leaders do not want to learn new things and find it easier to simply criticize it all. The work of the Lord is joyous but it is also challenging -we are challenged to have vision for new and better ways and methods of winning souls. And thats only half the challenge, we have to do all that while keeping ourselves pure from the sin within the same world we are trying to save. So we have to be visionaries for God and at the same time very strong in him. We have to be God-chasers because he is always moving. And if someone doesn't like that desription sorry but God says "Follow me" not "I'll follow you". Unfortunately I've seen young men almost give up on God's plan for them in their lives in their ministry. They get discouraged at all that might not be going perfectly right in church but I think God allows them see what's not going right so they can build something right/better for Him.
      But knowing that things should be better is part of the battle the other part is doing the right.
      Just my comments.