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36 Years Of Ministry One-on-One With Erwin Lutzer

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

My interview with Erwin Lutzer on what it takes to survive, and thrive, during 30 years of ministry.

After 36 years as senior Pastor, Dr. Erwin Lutzer has transitioned to his new role as Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church. As such he will continue with his media ministry and also encourage other pastors in their ministries.

Ed: What does it take to have a ministry of 30 years in the same place?

Erwin: I view the pastor/church relationship as a marriage (except that in this instance divorce is allowable!) so as long as the pastor and the church are compatible, the “marriage” lasts. I do believe that my gifting and the expectations of the congregation of Moody Church were a good match, so it resulted in a long and fruitful relationship.

Even though I preached in Moody Church for about 36 years, I never ran out of material or ideas. When you're in the Word and looking for things that God might want to say to this generation, you can find them. Every Sunday morning I woke up excited to preach at Moody Church. I think that kind of focus is critical for a long term ministry.

What is really necessary is that the pastor have the support of the church leadership (in my case it was the elders). We experienced some trials and challenges as all churches do, but throughout my 36 years, the Elder Board was always solidly in my corner. If you don't have that support, it's very difficult to maintain a long ministry.

Ed: In today's day and age, we seem to see a lot of pastors, sometimes of large churches, struggling, falling, getting involved in public situations or immoral actions. How have you guarded your life and your conscience as the pastor of Moody Church these decades?

Erwin: Let me begin by giving thanks to God that I have never fallen into the sin of immorality. When I hear of another pastor who has fallen, ...

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