When I was a church planter, I would go to great lengths to get people’s attention in the community. I meant well, and I had a greater purpose, but the questionable postcards and publicity stunts didn’t make a lasting impact. They probably repelled just as many people as they attracted.
It’s pretty easy to get people’s attention and coming up with stunts to get noticed isn’t hard. Send a crazy postcard or hold an animal while you preach or use language that you know will generate controversy. I could write a book on how to do it well. Because I did it.
But over the last few years, I’ve shifted my thinking about hype, promotion and vying for people’s attention. Because the people I truly respect don’t rely on gimmicks. They have a depth of character that is really impressive to me.
I’m no longer impressed by the crazy ideas we all want to copy. I’m impressed by people with character, who live the kind of life I want to live.
The people I respect have a certain depth about them. I don’t know what it is exactly, but it lives under the surface. It’s character, intelligence, depth, soul, and things of that nature. Lasting things, not fading things. Impactful character, not impressive stunts. I’m drawn to those people, not crazy ideas.
I think about Brian Bloye, who helped me start a church near in Atlanta and who answered ministry questions for years. Brian has a depth of character that I don’t see in most people, but it’s what I want in my life. He loves his family and loves his team. He shepherds the church I loved and still love and miss.
Brian has dealt with lots of messy situations and tragedies in his life and ministry, and he’s walked through all of that with grace and determination and resolution. A few weeks ago, I told Brian he is the best PASTOR I’ve ever known. I might have been a good speaker or a decent leader, but Brian was a great PASTOR. And I admire that more than the guy who can deliver a flashy sermon or write a provocative blog post.
Another person I greatly respect is Andy Stanley. I don’t know Andy, but everyone I know who knows him talks about his character and his family and his heart. I can watch a sermon and break down his skills , but the thing I really admire about Andy is his depth of character and wisdom. Sure, he is one of the best communicators on the planet, but it’s the depth that makes it last. Wisdom and character are attractive.
Five years ago I wanted everyone to look at me and notice. Hype was a drug. Doing things bigger and better and making a splash was addictive.
Today, I’m drawn to good friends, wise leaders, and faithful people…no matter how flashy they are.