Two Mega-church Pastors in Dallas, Two Very Different Media Reactions

The Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex has no shortage of mega-churches or mega-church pastors. It’s been called The New Capital of Evangelicalism by Christianity Today. It’s not unheard for a mega-church to be across the street from another mega-church. There is also a history of at least one other Dallas pastor getting caught in a money scandal.

Yesterday, I asked how much a pastor should make for his work, but today I want to look at another angle of the Ed Young saga. That is how the media portrayed him and another area mega-church pastor very differently this past week. The other pastor is Matt Chandler from The Village Church.

If you’re not familiar with Chandler, here’s a brief history. His church has grown rapidly in the past seven years that he has been the senior pastor. The average attendance when he began was around 150. Now they average around 6,000 each weekend and have three campuses. This past fall he was diagnosed with brain cancer and had surgery to remove a rapidly growing malignant brain tumor.

The Associated Press ran a story last weekend that was very favorable to him. They pointed out that he drives a car that he affectionately calls his Dodge “Gimpalla” and has over 140,000 miles. They also were very gracious in their descriptions of his desire to “suffer well” for the glory of the cross of Jesus Christ.

What struck me as I reflected on these two portrayals in the media was how Matt and Ed stand in juxtaposition to one another. One pastor is an over-the-top personality who’s known for elaborate sets, props, and creative communication in his preaching. The other is known for his simplicity (not to mention his self-described yelling at his church while preaching) in pointing people to the cross. They really are two very different personalities and have been portrayed as such by the media.

I’m not intending to pick on Ed Young. I still think he’s a good guy, loves the Lord with all his heart, and is leading his church properly, but I can’t help but think of verses like 1 Timothy 3:7, “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders,┬áso that he will not fall into disgrace.” Also, Jesus’ words to his disciples as he sent them out to do work in Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.┬áTherefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

These two stories were good reminders to me that the outside world is watching our actions and I need to make sure that I reflect Christ in everything I say and do.

What’s your take on these two stories in the media? Share your response in the comments.