A key emerging church leader has warned Australians not to become ‘carbon copies’ of influential American pastors.
Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of the Village Church in Dallas Texas, is more than halfway through his 11 day Australian tour.
Around 40 times a year he preaches via video link to each of the church’s six campuses. The Village Church’s sermons are also available by podcast and are downloaded across the world. While Mr Chandler says global influence is nothing new (he cites Spurgeon as an example) he has some concerns.
"I think what the danger is, is that people will try to carbon copy what they hear going on in some other part of the world as if it’s applicable to where they are instead of really seeking the Lord for what he would have for them in their place," he said.
"I don’t know that Mark Driscoll in Dallas would work all that well. And I don’t know that Matt Chandler in Seattle would work all that well."
Since he arrived in Sydney last Friday he has addressed young workers at the first weekend of the Engage conference, talked to around 4000 school students at a Rice rally in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, taught a small gathering of people at the Resolved Church plant in Newtown, and had breakfast with Phillip Jensen and Mark Dever.
"Up until now I’ve either been in cars or on stages," Mr Chandler told Anglican Media.
Not having been to Australia in the past, Mr Chandler described Sydney as a "beautiful, beautiful" city. "It seems like in Sydney [the people are] a little bit aggressive like they are in the States, so I like that," he says.
Seven years ago, Mr Chandler, then 28 years old, took the reins of a small church in Dallas. At the time around 120 people were turning out to Sunday services. Today the Village Church is attended by more than 6000.
Mr Chandler will speak to a gathering of pastors today about the barriers and roadblocks in growing a church. At the weekend he will speak at the second Engage conference.
During his 11 day trip Mr Chandler will speak a total of 18 times.
How does this mega-church pastor/global Christian leader keep everything in order? "I don’t have any hobbies," he says. "I preach the gospel, challenge men to be godly men, and I love my family."