A Glimpse into the Mind of a Visionary 49

Original post: http://www.stevenfurtick.com/uncategorized/sermon-planning-audio-blog/

In this very special audio version of his blog, Pastor Furtick and a few special guests from his creative team have a round table discussion about how the sermon series are planned at Elevation. In an act of selfless bravery, I listened to all thirty minutes of this, so that you don’t have to. You can thank me later.

Here is what we learn about the process from this enlightening discussion:

1.) Steven gets lots of really cool ideas. It may come from watching the Foo Fighters, listening to T.D. Jakes, or talking to his kids, but just know, Steven comes up with tons of really cool ideas.

2.) Steven is really cool.

3.) The ideas for sermon series come from Steven’s imagination.

4.) Steven is unique and relevant.

5.) Sometimes, Steven lets the creative team help him to form his really cool ideas, but sometimes he doesn’t.

6.) Steven is a visionary. (Actually referred to himself in this way.)

7.) After Steven shares his awesomely cool ideas, the creative team does things like “build a brand” and “create a buzz.” Not really sure what those terms mean as they relate to church, but they seem to be getting increasingly popular among the seeker types.

Not a lot was said about Scripture, except a couple of subtle jabs towards Pastors who teach eighty-one week series on the book of Genesis, and things like that.  So basically, in thirty minutes, we learned that the ideas for the series come from Steven’s “vision”, and everything else falls in line after that. Oh yeah, and that Steven is really cool.

What I found more interesting was the spreadsheet that they use to help for the series:



Note the placement and wording of question number 7. “What Scriptures do you think you’ll use during this series?” Wait…you mean to tell me we’ve already came up with the concept for this series, with how we want it to make people feel, movie tie-ins, target audience but haven’t decided upon Scripture backing for this series yet? Wow.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen multiple times where Furtick and Noble have made great errors in misapplying Scripture, and we’ve wondered how that could keep happening. I think we’ve found our answer. At least in Furtick’s case, he openly admits to dreaming up cool, gimmicky sermon series, and only later tries to come back and tie in Scripture to justify his stance. If you are selective enough, and willing to ignore context, you can make the Bible seem to say anything you want. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, David Koresh, and Jim Jones all claimed Scriptural backing for their whacked-out beliefs. This is exactly opposite of how a Pastor (or anyone else) should approach Scripture. The Furtick model is to decide what you belief and then try to find some Scripture to back that up. We should always approach the Scripture first, and let God’s Word dictate what we believe.

49 thoughts on “A Glimpse into the Mind of a Visionary

  1. Tommy F Jul 25, 2009 9:25 am


    I’d like to second KeithO’s recent post. I’m curious what your reply (or replies) will be.

    Also, you wrote: “for every critique you give at least two encouragements.” By my count this is the second time you’ve used this ratio as advice to PP commentators. I presume you want those critical of NS to use this ratio when posting comments. I think this is a fine idea, but I have trouble taking your advice since you so clearly don’t follow it yourself (refer to your 7/23, 11:51 posting and subsequent ones, above).

  2. MW Jul 25, 2009 11:40 pm


    Very well said. Thanks!!

  3. MW Jul 25, 2009 11:44 pm

    I don’t know you well enough yet to give those encouragements. As we get to know each other better I will. I always do with people I know. My harsh response earlier was to a false accusation. But I thanked you for your response. I will do better to remember your sardonic humor and give you more of a chance next time. Just be careful with the personal slanders. I haven’t been able to get the comment you made out of my mind from a few weeks ago when you accused me of being 11 years old. There are others and I am getting hung up on them. Just try to refrain from those and let’s hash out issues. It would help me not become so defensive. I appreciate your responses lately though. They have been very fair and well said. Thanks!

  4. MW Jul 25, 2009 11:45 pm

    Sorry, that last comment was to Tommy

  5. Tommy F. Jul 25, 2009 11:58 pm


    3 things:

    1) I’m surprised you didn’t have a lengthier reply to KeithO.
    2) The 11 yr old comment was precisely the kind of thing that is stated tongue-in-cheek. This is what I meant about taking the blog too seriously.
    3) And in my opinion, I am always fair. Harsh? Sure. Direct? I try. But fair? That’s always my goal.

  6. James Duncan Jul 26, 2009 12:08 am

    MW, if you need to know Tommy before encouraging him, wouldn’t the same standard apply to him? Why do you expect more encouragement from Tommy than you give to him?

    Look, this is a place to hash out important ideas. I’d prefer people get right to the meat of the argument rather than fluffing around with personal greetings and encouragement (though there is a place for that at times).

    This is a blog, not a home group.

    I’ve said this before, but if you want to see how well NewSpring is doing, read Noble’s and Cooper’s blogs.

    (In defense of Tommy, he didn’t say he really thought you were 11. The whole point of the post was the immaturity inherent in the T-shirt’s message. You, unprovoked (yours was the first response, remember), jumped right in and said it was great and that you groped your wife all the time. Your response seemed to match the immaturity of the shirt. That’s what Tommy was saying. And, no, we don’t need to rehash the sex and marriage stuff again here.)

  7. jcarl Jul 26, 2009 6:01 am

    Hi all,

    I’m new to this blog, and I appreciate what you are doing. There are precious few standing against the tide of delusion these days.

    I wanted to weigh in on the Furtick audio. Yes, I listened to the whole thing. Some things you just have to find out for yourself.

    It was nauseating enough to hear this man glorify himself and then solicit praises from his team of sycophants. But what I found most outrageous was his scorn for those pastors who merely “preach the word.” This is what preachers are commanded to do!! (2Tim 4:2) Furtick in his smirking sarcasm mocks faithful men of God who would “preach on the book of Romans for a year and a half.”

    Then he condescendingly encourages those pastors to continue preaching “dry” scriptural sermons if that is their strength…that is, if they don’t possess the superior gift of being able to come up with cool sermons like he does.

    I see in him no evidence of a love for God’s people or God’s Word…I don’t care how many supposed conversions or baptisms he takes credit for.

    Oh, and before I am accused of judging, let me freely admit to it. Jesus told me to. His word tells me to judge righteously, search the scriptures, test all things, test the spirits and examine the fruit of a teacher.

    This guy is arsenic.

  8. David J Jul 26, 2009 9:05 am


    You are correct…but remember that Furtick is cool and relevant! 🙂

  9. KeithO Jul 26, 2009 7:50 pm


    Sycophants? They might be the hired cheering section. Perhaps they were just doing their job description.

  10. MW Jul 26, 2009 11:30 pm


    I’m not looking for encouragment, I’m looking to hash out issues without the personal bashing.

    “Just try to refrain from those (personal remarks) and let’s hash out issues. It would help me not become so defensive.” – from my last post.

    Wanting to just hash out the issues is what I said. I would much rather talk about the issues only.

    Ya’ll also accuse me of getting to serious but all I see on this is serious. You can’t throw blows at each other and at New Spring and not expect people to take it seriously. I wouldn’t walk up to someone at church and punch them in the face and say “oh, don’t take that seriously, I was just joking.” To me, that is more immature than saying groping your wife is ok. It’s also very unwise. You will end up getting punched back. Don’t cry when you do.

  11. MW Jul 26, 2009 11:38 pm


    You are correct that you can judge sin as sin and I would agree that putting yourself or your creativity over God or His word is sinful. A lot of stuff that we say “don’t judge” is stuff that is not sinful. It is stuff that is simply unwise. You can’t judge the heart of man, but you can judge his actions if they blatantly go agaist scripture. I don’t know if Furtick would outright say he is doing this and may not be completely, but he is pushing that line hard in saying some of this stuff. To me that is extremely dangerous. I pray that he doesn’t think of himself more highly then God or His word. That would definitely be worth naming names over.

  12. Tommy F. Jul 26, 2009 11:50 pm


    1) I’m so confused, MW. Please get this straight and then let all of us know which it is: Either you’re here to encourage “for every critique you give at least two encouragements” (7/24) or you’re not: “I’m not looking for encouragment [sic]” (7/26).

    2) Practice what you preach.

  13. MW Jul 27, 2009 12:30 am


    I assume too much sometimes when I write. This is what I meant:

    first, debating isn’t critiquing. I Don’t mind if you don’t agree. That doesn’t bother me, but that was in response to negative slanders and critiques of my ministry (i.e. the 11 year old comment and the “you hang out with your youth too much and they are rubbing off on you” comment.) If you want to critique my maturity, it would be best to offer up a couple good things you see before throwing that in because it is personal. This also makes you get to know the person before you make any personal remarks, negative or positive.

    2) I was also saying that to suggest that we post two good things about NS before a critique. If they are reading this then I think it would help them take the critiques easier because they wouldn’t see only negative stuff everytime they got on the blog. If I were at NS I would be very defensive towards people that are only negative about my ministry. I think it will help them listen to you and respect what you have to say more. Only negative all the time is hard to listen to for anyone.

    I’m not out looking for encouragment on here, but I’m just asking for encouragement before a personal slam or at least after it. I have friends that have critiqued me harshly before but they encourage me enough to make the negative times easier to recieve.

    Aside from all of this I want ya’ll to know that I really like being on this blog. Even though I don’t get to know you completely personally, I appreciate the false sense of fellowship and I would rather talk to someone like ya’ll who are passionate and who may even at times completely disagree with everything I stand for then someone who doesn’t care. Ya’ll are passionate and fun to talk to. I like that and I appreciate ya’ll letting me continue to be a part of the discussions.

  14. Tommy F Jul 27, 2009 9:34 am


    The odd thing here is that you don’t follow your own advice. You want others to practice the “2 positives for every 1 negative” rule, but you give yourself a pass (see your 7/23 post).

    Your youth do seem to be rubbing off on you. This can be bad or good. This depends on your perspective. This is not a personal jab, it’s an assessment of your comments. They seem to display a youth mentality. This may make you a great youth minister. I dunno.

    It seems to me what you really want is a gush-fest where we heap on praise and adoration to NS, etc, and never offer any criticism. You seem incapable of being neutral. If a negative comment comes in about NS, you rush in to defend. NS is never wrong? Never in need of correction? Wow. That’s quite a church.

  15. MW Jul 27, 2009 12:02 pm

    I don’t think they don’t need correction. Every church needs correction. I’ve said that before, but the pendulum tends to only swing toward correction on this page, not encouragement. I’m really just trying to make a point.

    Check out the blog on “Question me, oppose God.” I’m agreeing on the big issues.

    I think part of the communication that is getting lost in my defense of NS is that I’m just trying to point out that some of the issues that people get up in arms about on here sometimes are issues that are not about sin, but maybe wisdom or just a different perspective on how to reach people. In defending them, I’m really trying to defend their right and freedom to reach people the way they feel people are best reached. I am a lot more free minded in approach. I personally, especially knowing my kids, my church and their culture don’t think it would be wise at all for me to run my youth group like NS’s. It would have the opposite effect on my ministry. Plus, I don’t mind being shocking, but I’d rather be shocking with the truth then with a gimmick. If shocking gimmicks bring people to listen, ok, I’m not with it 100% but I won’t criticize because they are reaching people. That isn’t me though. If I offend or shock, I want it to be through the radical truth of the gospel. Does that make sense? I hope that explains my intentions.

    I just know the intentions and heart of some of the NS staff and know that they are doing what they are doing to bring people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They want to transform lives. I think that is awesome. If they are accomplishing that, which I think they are then I’m not going to criticize their methods. Not unless they step over the sin line. Some people on here think that they have at times. I don’t yet. The closest blog post to them getting close to that line is the “Question me, oppose God.” post. I think the semantics are dangerous. I don’t think they mean what we are supposing they mean, but I would be very cautious about saying something the way Furtick says it. I think he steps over that line with his language. His intentions may not be stepping over the line, but his words are.

  16. jcarl Jul 27, 2009 3:12 pm


    Self-glorification (pride) is sin.
    Making light of the word of God is sin.
    Ridiculing men of God for preaching the Word is sin.
    Coarse joking and unwholesome talk is sin.
    Failure to heed Godly reproof is sin.
    Abusive speech is sin.
    Loving the world and the things of the world is sin.
    Seeking the approval of the world is sin, especially for a preacher.
    Failure of a shepherd to feed the flock is sin.
    Lording it over your brothers and sisters is sin.
    Teaching false doctrine is sin.
    Failure to repent of sin is sin.

    These items are not negotiable, and it is not a matter of perspective. Sin is not justifiable even for the purpose of “reaching out” to people. Jesus taught us by his example and words what true reaching out is. It is preaching the gospel and the kingdom of God…repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ…teaching people to observe all things that Jesus commanded, etc. God hates sin and does not endorse it, condone it, or need it as a means to draw people to His Son.

    I can’t judge a man’s heart as to his motives or the status of his soul before God, but I can judge a man’s doctrine and behavior. Scripture clearly tells me that I can discern a false teacher. And when I do, the Word commands me to turn away from him. Not to look for mitigating factors or make excuses for him, but to turn away.

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again. These cats are arsenic.

  17. Micah Taylor Jul 27, 2009 5:27 pm

    Furtick’s blog is the funniest satire I’ve ever read.

  18. MW Jul 27, 2009 11:02 pm


    Are you saying all of that to agree with me or not? I just said the same thing to you a few comments back. make sure you read the comments before you post. It doesn’t help your argument.

    I don’t get why you felt the need to write all that?

    I told you, judge sin, not the heart. You just said the same thing. I said before that, the stuff on this blog (not the blog post but blog) that some of us have said “don’t judge them” on, is on the other blog posts which are not dealing with sin, but wisdom. There is no need to judge someone over a method. There is a reason to judge the ACTIONS of someone if they are in sin. I have actually agreed with the commentators of this blog on the last couple of issues.

    “Loving the world and the things of the world is sin.
    Seeking the approval of the world is sin, especially for a preacher.
    Failure of a shepherd to feed the flock is sin.
    Lording it over your brothers and sisters is sin.
    Teaching false doctrine is sin.
    Failure to repent of sin is sin.”

    When you got to this point in your comment (assuming you are speaking about NS) you started assuming too much (you only have one example you can use for the last one). You don’t know any of these things for a fact.

    But, please, if you are the all knowing God that stares into the hearts and everyday lives of man, please let me know. I will take back my last comment.

  19. Micah Taylor Jul 29, 2009 3:30 am

    I was reading around the site today and it would seem that Furtick’s blog is not meant to be satirical…. some please tell me this isn’t true…

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