Church Planters = Church Pirates?

Saw Ed Young today on YouTube…

I have mad respect for this guy and Fellowship Church. I’ve visited, got a personal tour from Anthony Coppedge a couple years ago(thank you very much). I’ve read the books, listened to the teaching, used some of the resources, even taught some of his messages. I just want to be clear about the respect issue.

I do however have a little understanding of what it’s like to be on the inside of church politics. Men (& women) can become extremely powerful, especially when they are experiencing rapid growth, popularity, getting rated in Outreach magazine, selling books, speaking as authority on any issue, etc. Both lead pastors and/or staff members. I’m not sure who Ed is referring to his talk, but he mentions that in both cases, these “pirates” took 20 years to build a “kingdom” before going and planting. That fascinates me because a majority of church planters that I know, or have heard of are in their 20’s & 30’s.

This talk is riddled with enough church euphemisms to get my gag reflex going:

  • the “God Card”
  • church transplants
  • “are they legit or from church splits?” (reminiscent of “if it don’t fit, you must acquit)
  • moving/stealing sheep
  • disloyalty
  • blessed subtraction
  • boutique churches
  • shoot our wounded (this sounded completely out of context…?)

He says “if you’re big and bad enough to go out and start your own church…”. That scares me. Anyone who starts a church thinking they are “big and bad enough” are obviously not operating out of a broken heart for people, but out of pride, thinking that you can actually give God a hand.

To me, this little talk sounds kind of reactionary, and a little scattered (much like this post I suppose). I do agree with Ed that pastors and staff shouldn’t as a rule, create a kingdom within a church with the purpose of going and planting a church down the street; that’s blatantly wrong and works against the mission of the local church. On the flip side I think there are issues with power, pride, loyalty, and insecurity from church leadership (pastors & staff) that create unhealthy atmosphere’s within today’s churches. I think these issues are never talked about because they are crushed or labeled as “disloyalty” before they can be discussed in a healthy forum.

We’re all flawed. What do you think about these issues?

10 thoughts on “Church Planters = Church Pirates?

  1. eric

    Sounds like he’s been hurt and he’s speaking out of a recent experience/wound. What was this taken from? Looks like it was a conference for Church Leadership or something because he does seem to be speaking off the cuff.

    Honestly, I think we worry about that stuff too much. Obviously we need to watch out for the wolf in sheeps clothing, but the reality is, if there are people from your Church who want to be a part of a new Church in town… I say, “let them.” Obviously they weren’t too plugged into your Church anyway! A lot of times it’s God’s way of building the Kingdom. Kind of like the Diaspora. It might not of seemed right at the time, but look at how God used it!

  2. bobby

    OK, truly, that video just tweaked me like no other. like you said, it definitely came out of some of his own pain, but I agreed with very little of what he said.

    And sorry to say it, but it’s hard to hear it from a guy with a church as big as his. He talks about people building their own kingdoms within a church, but is his kingdom so important that a group can’t go out in the area and do something else of God that they feel is of The Kingdom? Maybe if pastors were able to see more of the need around them and the fact that we don’t need to limit the number of churches in area, since we’re really not in competition (this isn’t the corporate world in many ways) then they would bless these people and send them out.

    And by the way, I get so irritated at the whole “sheep stealing” mentality. Yes we are called shepherds. Yes people are referred to as sheep. But they aren’t quite as stupid. Last time I check, people had their own brains and were able to decide for themselves where Christ is leading them.

    And just for the record, yes Ed, I have been a part of an experience that would qualify.

  3. Kent Kingery

    I’m amazed by this video. Amazed at how petulant he sounds. Amazed that he would take time and resources to tape this in front of his entire church staff and then post it publicly. Amazed that he seems to equate the church with corporate America.

    Look, I have a lot of respect for Ed Young, Jr. I support his ministry, I read his books, I watch his TV snippets. He has a heart for teaching and has built a wonderful ministry that has touched thousands and thousands of people. But it’s hard for me to watch this video because I think it speaks more to pettiness and worldliness than anything else.

    Sometimes splits in a church happen for stupid reasons (differences in musical taste, etc.), and sometimes they happen for legitimate reasons (pastor got too consumed with his image or his positional authority or his vision). In the former case, people who follow the “pirate” (very poor choice of words, in my opinion) are following their shallow instincts. In the latter case, they are fleeing from a ministry that no longer ministers.

    I personally think this video was a warning shot across the bow to someone in his own church who he perceives is getting ready to “steal” “his” people. But they aren’t “his” people, right? They are God’s people…

  4. Pingback:Ed Young Comments/Rant « Random Thoughts on Life, Love, and Other Mysteries

  5. me

    I completely agree with Ed.

    You are all just jealous morons.

  6. alex

    Hmmm: “me”, this is my first comment that I’ve considered deleting, just because it’s anonymous and it’s rude. But for sake of argument, I’ll leave it. Just know this, I appreciated if you bring something a little more solid to the discussion.

  7. Pingback:betterthanblank » Blog Archive » More on Church Pirates

  8. Dan

    Yea granted I’ve never lived through it or can relate personally but some of the language is pretty “weird”. I certainly don’t agree with somebody purposefully conspiring to “pirate” a group of people to start a church. But he just really sounds insecure about something that is God’s to begin with.

  9. Chris Stout


    I haven’t been able to watch the whole video but I wanted to comment before I lost my train of thought. I agree with Eric and the others. Obviously someone close to him recently planted a new church. It almost sounds like a diatribe that I hear from my chain of command about loyalty and this and the other. Poor woes me like.

    It just seems that his ego must have been hurt. All of us have ego’s per say, just some are more humble then others. None the less, why did he pick such a venue like that to speak about it? Weird…

    Again agreeing with Eric, it didn’t seem like a planned lesson. Something from within that was really bothering him. I don’t know this guy and by no means do I think poorly of him. Just an observation from a Sailor’s Point of View…

    Oh yeah, there are still Pirates. Look in the Persian Gulf area…you’ll find a few…

  10. Pingback:Church Pirates «

Comments are closed.