Influential USA megachurch pastor Bishop T. D. Jakes believes many pastors are focused more on preaching than they are on bringing people to Jesus.
“This is something that I think we’ve kind of gotten away from. We have gotten more into preaching than winning souls,” he told fellow Texas pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church as they fished.
Jakes, who founded The Potter’s House in Dallas, noted that the act of witnessing often took place off stage.
“It used to be the preachers themselves witnessed in the grocery store anywhere, didn’t need a mic, didn’t need a crowd,” he said.
“What’s important about that is people will do what you do and if you’re not a soul winner, you can teach what you know but you reproduce what you are.”
His comments come as Young launched a new sermon series featuring professional wrestlers. On Sunday, the pastor interviewed Sting, a retired wrestler, on a stage complete with lights and a wrestling ring. Young told The Christian Post earlier that he wanted to do a series on wrestling for years now given how often it appears in the Bible.
During their fishing trip, Jakes called Young “one of the most creative preachers” he has ever seen. Young has often used props — including a sports car, a large model of a shark and a real lion in a cage, just to name a few — with his sermons.
When it comes to soul winning, Jakes remarked that just as fishing “represents one world going into another to bring things in,” you have to “go into the world, out of your element and bring people in.”
“There’s a wisdom. You have to be aware of how to talk. You use different kinds of bait for different kinds of fish. What church people don’t understand is you can’t go into the world and use church language and catch the world. You have to use the language that the world can relate to,” Jakes explained.
“We have to get away from the mentality of thinking everybody’s coming to church. The church has to go to them. Jesus said go, not just come … We have to get out there.”
The Dallas pastor, who is also a filmmaker (“Heaven Is for Real”), also stressed the importance of relationship and loving people when reaching people for Jesus.
“We have really forgotten the simplicity of relationship and it not only shows in soul winning, it also shows in how we treat each other,” he told Young. “I think it’s because it’s predominantly men and men have a propensity to always want to fix things. We’re so busy trying to fix people, we forgot how to love them.
“If you love me then I’ll let you fix me. But if you try to fix me and I don’t think you love me, I’m going to resent you. So we have to pass the love test.”
The fishing trip was aired as an episode of “The Raw & The Reel,” a new YouTube series that Young launched this month. Young said he wanted to bring his pastor friends along to fish — one of his favorite things to do — and talk about life and leadership.
Jakes called the experience “wonderful,” as it “expresses fellowship between pastors who live in the same city.”
So many pastors are lonely, he lamented, and many have “forgotten how to be friends.”
Pastors need someone they can talk to, with whom they can feel safe and who “get them,” Jakes noted.
“I think there’s a powerful message just in the illustration of us coming together in the same city.”