I recently finished a biography of A.W. Tozer, and some of its ideas got me thinking about the various roles in multisite churches.
When A.W. Tozer preached in your church, the crowds were certain to grow. Many people today know this Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor primarily for his popular books like The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. They’ve reached millions and continue to sell, long after Tozer’s 1963 death.
Tozer’s official title for many years was that of “pastor,” but in actuality he focused his pastoral work very narrowly on preaching and teaching. He didn’t enjoy – and wasn’t particularly good – at pastoral acts like visiting the sick or training his elders. In fact, when he candidated at one church he said, “I’ll go anywhere to preach, but it needs to be clear that I am not interested in being pastor.” Indeed the church employed him at that very level: his sole responsibility was to speak at the Sunday morning and evening services. The church hired a second person to do everything else. That young man “will handle everything. You won’t have to attend board meetings, visit the sick, lay any cornerstones, attend any picnics, cut any ribbons or anything else. Just preach twice a Sunday, that’s it,” the church’s leaders had promised.
How is that dual-person role any different from today’s multisite approach of one person as teaching pastor and the other as campus pastor? I think Tozer (and many others like him) set quite a precedent that led in some ways to the splitting of roles in many multisite churches today.
What do you think?
posted by Warren Bird, Ph.D., co-author with Geoff Surratt and Greg Ligon of Multi-Site Church Revolution and Multi-Site Church Roadtrip. Warren also blogs on Leadership Network’s Learnings and Books.