Friday, October 14, 2005 | |

The Leadership Blog Interview: Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Bio: Ed Stetzer has trained pastors and church planters on five continents and has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. He has been a seminary professor, author, and ministry consultant. He serves as Research Team Director and Missiologist at the North American Mission Board. He has two books forthcoming in April '06, Planting New Churches, 2nd edition and Breaking the Missional Code.


The Leadership Blog Interview Questions
1. Ed, what gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Ed: "I wish there was a more eloquent way to put it, but there probably is not. So... I would say that I love to see when people "get it"-- when they grasp the concepts that matter. For me and the ministry call God has on my life, that means they embrace a "missional" perspective on the gospel, church, and life. By "missional," I mean that they choose to engage in ministry that is an incarnation of Christ, indigenous to their context, and intentionally engaging people in culture with the truth claims of the gospel. There is nothing more exciting to me than to see that moment when people grasp the kingdom implications of gospel-centered ministry. "

2. What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
: "Wet blankets. It seems that every group, church, and denomination has a self appointed person or group who consider it their job to criticize. I don't think criticism is bad, it just is usually offered by the "wet blanket" types with such joy and enthusiasm! I like those whose mission is to help make things better, not to attack those who are trying to make them better."

3. Who made the biggest influence in your life as a leader?
Ed: "Steve Morgan is one. Not because he was a great leader or incredibly well known, but because he poured his life into me. He challenged me to read Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship when I was 16 years of age and it changed my life. On other is Mark Terry. Mark knows more about mission than anyone I know. I dedicate one of my books to him describing how I came in as a guy who knew how to plant a church, but he molded me into a missiologist. In the dedication I wrote, "I knew the 'hows' of church planting, but you taught me the 'whys' of missions."

4. What books have changed your life?
Ed: "Beyond the scriptures, the most influential books for me are some obscure books that most normal people probably don't know. I would say Roland Allen's Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and Bosch's Transforming Mission were impactful on my life. I mentioned The Cost of Discipleship before and that was a tremendous influence at a young age."

5. What's your biggest challenge as a leader?
Ed: "I do not do well taking care of my own physical health. I get too excited reading, writing, speaking that I neglect my health. I hate exercise... and love communicating, so it is obvious which one I choose. That is a bad long term strategy."

6. What goals do you have as a leader?
Ed: "I will share three. My first goal is to be a more committed disciple and to lead myself better-- in personal spiritual formation and physical health. My second goal is to be a godly leader of my home, loving my wife and three daughters. My third goal to help evangelicals to move out of a self-affirming subculture and proclaim and radical gospel in the cultures of North America."

7. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ed: "I will answer that from a ministry standpoint, since I dealt with the personal issues above. First, I will be actively connected to the life of a local church. God convicted me that I have been flying around the world talking about church and mission, but not really connected to the mission of my own church. So, I partnered with two very gifted guys, Philip Nation and Travis Vaughn, as co-pastors planting Lake Ridge Church. In ten years, I plan to be pouring my life into that church (or its daughter churches)-- and still learning from Travis and Philip.
Second, I have a great mission agency where I serve, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Right now it seems that people in the SBC (and evangelicalism) are asking many of the right questions-- how do we reach people in culture?, how can our churches continue to proclaim a faithful gospel but become more missionally effective in emerging culture? As long as we are asking those questions, I will stay here at the North American Mission Board and continue to serve as Missiologist and Research Team Director. It is a great privilege to work with a group of people who ask everyday, "how can we reach people for Christ?"

Thanks Ed for taking time for the interview.