“PASTOR G’s church is enormous, but could’ve been much larger. But he felt convicted to leverage his gifts & reputation to help pastors [with] fewer resources and experience,” Howerton described. “Gave ~30% of his time to financially invest in, encourage, & coach ~100 pastors of smaller churches for free.”
The last pastor Howerton described was leading the third largest church in America when Howerton met him. The pastor spent two hours with Howerton, who was 16 years old at the time, answering his questions about how to be a pastor.
“Later found out he said no to a nationally televised interview to keep his meeting [with] me, [because] ‘a righteous man swears to his own hurt & does not change,’” Howerton said.
Responses Pour In
Howerton’s Twitter thread received an outpouring of responses, including over 1,800 retweets and hundreds of comments.
A number of people expressed suspicion in response to Howerton’s stories, with some accusing Howerton of circling the wagons around megachurches.
“If mega church pastors need a tweet thread defense by another mega church pastor, you’re all doing it wrong,” one person said. Another remarked, “Translation…I know some folks who aren’t problematic so therefore the entire institution itself is beyond critique. I’m glad [your] eight pastor friends are bright spots. If they have any integrity they will join us in critiquing the larger issue.”
Nevertheless, many others expressed that Howerton’s thread came as an encouragement to them.
“Thank you for sharing this,” one person wrote. “The fact that your congregation is big should never be a source of shame. Big churches make big news when they fail, and their positive impact goes unnoticed. It’s important to remember God will reward and praise such unnoticed people all the more.”
“Great reminder that the issue of importance is not the size of the congregation but what one does to obtain a large congregation. Are they faithful to God’s word or compromising,” said another. “That is all that matters. Praise God for faithful megachurch pastors and smaller church pastors!”
One person suggested that Mike Cosper, who wrote and hosted Christianity Today’s “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” podcast, which chronicled the meteoric rise and subsequent scandals of the Mark Driscoll pastored church, should produce a new podcast telling these kinds of stories.