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LifeWay Research president, Liberty alumnus calls for active church members

October 10, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

President of LifeWay Research and Liberty University alumnus Ed Stetzer (’95) challenged students in Wednesday’s Convocation to be active churchgoers rather than passive spectators.

“From a study of 7,000 churches we found the majority of people in the majority of churches are unengaged in meaningful missions,” Stetzer said, citing a recent LifeWay study.

LifeWay is one of the biggest providers of resources to churches and ministries in the world. LifeWay Research studies topics such as church leadership, emerging trends, attitudes of the churched and unchurched, and various issues to help equip church leaders with insight and advice that will lead to healthier and more effective churches.

Stetzer used 1 Peter 4:10-11 as a basis for his message to demonstrate what it looks like to “see all of God’s people engaged in God’s mission.”

He encouraged students to understand the truth in this Scripture by developing four main points: all have gifts for God’s ministry; God intends everyone to use their gifts; God empowers people to use their gifts; and the purpose of using the gifts is to ultimately bring glory to God.

Stetzer observed that titles, culture, and attitudes have affected people’s roles in the church. Instead of being complacent and become unhealthily co-dependent on pastors and the church for spirituality, he encouraged an active service which “provokes one another to love and good deeds.”

“God has not called us to play, pray, and stay out of the way. He has called all of us to ministry,” he said. “We are not called to be customers of the church, but co-laborers in the mission of the Gospel.”

Stetzer takes this mission to heart as a pastor and church planter. He has trained pastors and church planters on six continents on this subject. He has written several books, including "Planting New Churches in Postmodern Age," "Comeback Church," and "Perimeters of Light." He is a contributing editor for "Christianity Today" and a columnist for several publications, including "Outreach Magazine," and has been frequently cited and interviewed on news outlets such as USA Today and CNN.