Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Most will be familiar with Charles and Andy Stanley, father and son. Charles has served as the senior, preaching pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, since 1971. He is the founder and president of In Touch Ministries, and he also served as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1984-1986). Andy has served as the senior, preaching pastor of North Point Community Church (which now consists of five church sites), Alpharetta, GA, since 1995. Under his leadership, North Point Ministries was also begun. From what it appears, both of these local churches are thriving, mega-church ministries.
What is often not known or remembered is that Andy began ministry at First Baptist with his father with the intention that he would be his father’s successor. Even lesser known are the reasons why. Since it has been many years since this happened, many don’t know how it came to be that these two men were used of God to lead two ministries rather than one.
John Blake has written an interesting and informative story about Charles and Andy Stanley: “Two preaching giants and the ‘betrayal’ that tore them apart,” CNN.com (November 18, 2012). The Stanleys are both Evangelicals, both committed to the inerrancy and authority of the Bible, and both gifted preachers. Most of us know these facts. There are a few other family matters and interpersonal issues between them that are lesser known, issues that God has healed in recent years.
As fellow Evangelicals and brothers and sisters in the Lord, we ought to rejoice in what God has and continues to do. We ought to thank the Lord for this healing, and pray that to the degree they remain faithful to a ministry of the gospel, their respective ministries, empowered by the Holy Spirit, focused on Christ, to God’s glory, would thrive and flourish.