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Kyle Idleman: Why We Must Do Ministry One Person at a Time (Even at a Megachurch)

kyle idleman

Kyle Idleman is a bestselling author and the senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky. He’s most widely known for his award-winning book, “not a fan.,” which has sold more than 1.3 million copies. His new book, “One at a Time: The Unexpected Way God Wants to Use You to Change the World,” shows us how to make a difference in the world the way Jesus did—in ways that are often overlooked.

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Key Questions for Kyle Idleman

-What mistakes do ministry leaders end up making when they don’t focus on people one at a time? 

-You’re writing this book as a pastor of one of the largest churches in the country. Is a megachurch ministry truly compatible with the idea of ministering “one at a time”?

-What would it look like for a church to lead its people to engage one person at a time?

-If focusing on people one at a time is best, why are we doing church ministry in groups of dozens and hundreds and thousands?

Key Quotes From Kyle Idleman

“As a pastor, it’s easy to gauge my effectiveness or my success on those same metrics, right? Like how many people are coming and how many decisions and baptisms. And interestingly, in the past couple of years, a lot of the metrics that we’ve used to find success and find identity and gauge influence and impact have largely been skewed at best by the pandemic.”

“What we find in the gospels, of course, is that Jesus again and again impacted the world through one-on-one encounters.”

“I knew from being on staff at this large church for, you know, 15, 16 years at the time that I would need to work really hard at keeping my focus on people one at a time. In other words, I recognize that a danger for me in this role [of senior pastor] was going to be staying in my office, sitting at home. It was going to be focusing on crowds and not necessarily continuing to have that one at a time emphasis in my life.”

“Crowds of thousands and one at a time don’t need to contradict one another. In fact, if you look through the different stories of Jesus, you often find that the one at a time moments happen within the context of a crowd.”

“I was reading the story, preparing a message for the story on the woman with the issue of blood, and she reaches out. She touches the cloak of Jesus. She tries to kind of disappear into the crowd. And then, you know, there’s this really beautiful verse where it says, ‘Seeing that she could not go unnoticed.’ And that verse for me became the way I wanted to gauge my ministry effectiveness.”