CNN ran a story this weekend about the saga of Charles and Andy Stanley, two preaching giants who have settled on two different paths in doing the Lord’s work. As the story was told, after a Southern Baptist upbringing, Andy realized his father’s unspoken dream that the two would work together at First Baptist Church Atlanta, where Charles Stanley had preached for years. Andy took a youth pastor position at his father’s church, and his talent at preaching was evident. Andy grew to become the pastor of the church’s first satellite. But a church conflict related to Andy’s parents’ divorce would also bring a conflict between father and son, and the dream would come to an end.
Andy took a lesson from Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, IL, and began to incorporate a mission of reaching irreligious people disinterested in traditional church with the message of the gospel. When asked if he was competing with his father at the time, Andy answers, “Not intentionally, but I felt like what we were doing was better.” A short time later Andy would leave First Baptist and form North Point Community Church in 1995. It would be twelve years later before Charles would ask Andy to preach in his church.
Read more about this fascinating story on CNN.com and in Andy’s new book, Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend.