Ed Young, Jr. on “Church Pirates”

Orginally published on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 4:22 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Ed Young, Jr. recently recorded this at a staff meeting at Fellowship Church in Dallas. What is a 'church pirate'? It is a person who serves on a church staff who suddenly decides to leave the church and start a new church 'plant' in the same city. Sounds like Ed may have been burned on this one a time or two. Take a look and let me know what you think.

For your response:  Have you ever had a church pirate on your staff?  Have you ever been a church pirate?  Let me know your thoughts on this subject!

This post has been viewed 5870 times so far.

  There are 147 Comments:

  • Posted by

    Hurt people Hurt
    Healed People Heal

  • Posted by Dave

    Some truth.  Some pain.  Maybe a little selfrighteous bitterness too…

    I know of churches who split on purpose and help build other ministries right in the same neighborhood.  Why not?  We are building God’s kingdom, not our own. 

    And… “stealing sheep” ???  There not our sheep anyway - last I checked, Christ was the shepherd.

    His overall point of being careful about building a ministry to the demise of other good ministries is so very valid though.

  • Posted by Dave

    They’re not our sheep…

  • Posted by

    Anyone know why this video wasn’t keep in house? Which staff person leaked the video?

    We can know the will of God if the word of God is specific. That is the objective side. But, if a person is determining the will of God, personally, (that would be subjectively), then there is no way for another person to say whether something is God’s will or not.

    If a person feels led to plant a church, I have no right to tell that person whether that is the will of God or not. If a person wants to commit adultery, then I have every right, and a biblical basis, for telling that person that is not the will of God.

    Just a thought.

  • Posted by

    Nobody leaked it. Young put it on his blog himself. He wanted everybody to hear his rant…

  • Posted by

    Dear Pastor Pezz, I think we need to be careful, I always remember a message preached in our church in South Africa by Dr. Edwin Louis Cole when he talked about “Sedition” and how people who seduce your people into there church from your church, will carry that seditious spirit with them, your youth pastor and everyone who left with him are putting there Church, marriage, and families in danger of the same seditious spirit running wild in there lives.

    Also let’s apply Biblical principle to the event Matt 18 go to the brother if he refuses to see you which he has done on three occasions, send the elders which you have done, now expose what he has done to the church locally and at large, that is your obligation, to save the brother and the body at large.

    We need to stop this love everyone nonsense and be Biblical, save the church from the real Pirate.

  • Posted by

    Ray: thanks for the info about young ed young posting the video on his blog. That makes this thing even more strange. Why post it for the public if he was addressing his staff?

    Apparently, to call attention to himself?

  • Posted by

    “Apparently, to call attention to himself?”

    As most “pastors” do today.

    It’s all about the PR.

  • Posted by


    What exactly has a person who leaves a congregation to start a new one has done that would solicit a Matthew 18 response?

    You’re assuming that just because someone leaves and starts something they believe they should do is wrong or worse, sin.

    Your suggestion is immature at best.

  • Posted by


    “Your questions are, I think, just dancing around the issue of the rightness or “not” rightness of doing what Ed describes. Leveraging your influence in a church with the intention of splitting it. Intentionally doing damage to a church that you claim you were called to at one point and now claim (by your actions) to be called to damage.”

    Peter, the system that I rail against is the consumeristic, free-market mess that we have created, which in no way resembles the New Testament church.

    Are you telling me that you are contracturally prevented from leaving and starting a new work?  Where is God in that?  What if your “pastor” goes nuts and begins teaching heresy and you’re approached by concerned “sheep” who want you to help them?  What do you do?  Tell them, “Tough.  I can’t help you?”

  • Posted by

    Besides, who’s to say that the “pirate church” wouldn’t offer better programs and teaching than the “victimized church?”

    Perhaps they would reach more people?

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    We have the kind of oversight that would probably prevent that scenario, but if our pastor started preaching something diametrically opposed to our statement of faith, he would automatically be in a lot of trouble. VERY quickly.

    And the thing I am contractually obligated NOT to do is to start another church in this town. If I sensed that God was calling me to start a church elsewhere, I would work with my pastor and leadership team (and denomination in all likelihood), so that I could be sent out rather than creeping out the back door, which, as I read Acts, seems to be a little more like they did it then.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm

    Ricky writes

    [Besides, who’s to say that the “pirate church” wouldn’t offer better programs and teaching than the “victimized church?”] If you’re saying that it’s okay for somebody to split a church from within because they can do church better than they can… Does that really sound mature, or biblical, or even ethical?

  • Posted by

    I asked the question back a few pages if anyone had heard of the policy of not leading a child to Jesus under 12 UNLESS the parent was present?

    This among several other reasons were why people left...we didn’t start another church
    but when scriptures are twisted to support
    “power leaders” and heywire thinking comes to roost, it may be time for the chicks to fly the coop.  Our church was pirated by the minister called to lead it.  He just stepped in and took over with demands for a bigger building, better PA, different hymnals, and a host of other embellishments.  Did people find Jesus or him?  Time will tell.

  • Posted by

    Hey Ricky Rick, I was talking about Pezz’s particular situation and not Pirates in general, he talked about the brothers seditious behaviour and he should expose the brother to the congregatin after he has followed Matt 18 instead of keeping quiet and pretending that the brother is wonderfull.

    It’s amazing how much chatter has been generated by Ed’s talk to his staff, when he was with us he talked about how he would move people around, make the worship leader the parking guy, and the parking guy the usher, and the usher the bookshop manager etc. but he never did say that he made the usher the Pastor and that he took over ushering, interesting.

  • Posted by


    “If I sensed that God was calling me to start a church elsewhere,”

    Are you saying that God cannot or would not “call” you to start a church in the same town as your present congregation?

  • Posted by

    “If you’re saying that it’s okay for somebody to split a church from within because they can do church better than they can… Does that really sound mature, or biblical, or even ethical?”

    How is it “unbiblical” to start a church in the same town if God is calling you to do so?

  • Posted by


    “but he (i.e., Ed Young, Jr.) never did say that he made the usher the Pastor and that he took over ushering, interesting.”

    That’s because it’s beneath him to do so.

    After all, he is the “pastor.”

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    You’re definitely not listening to all that I am saying, and taking one part of it out of context to be contrary. So I’m not sure you have a point, to be honest.

    in answer to your question, yes. I am sure God would not call me to start a new church in this town as long as this church is in it in this fashion. And if you knew everything about my town, you would maybe come to the same conclusion.

    btw, it’s unbiblical because it shows no respect for those under whose authority you’ve willingly placed yourself.

  • Posted by david

    his own staff have to talk to him through his blog??? really?!

  • Posted by

    I have heard rumblings of such policies of not leading kids to Christ if they’re under 12 without their parents being present.  Sometimes that is purely done out of respect for the parents.  Sometimes it is because they don’t feel that a 12 year old is quite ready to profess their faith and they want the parents involved.  Sometimes it’s to ensure the parents know what is going on so they don’t feel like this was done “behind their backs”.

    I am not saying that these reasons are great reasons, but I can definitely see some wisdom in including the parents.  If my daughter wanted to accept Jesus and really understood what that means, I want to be there.  I can imagine a lot of parents feeling the same way.  Likewise, I know some parents who will throw a royal fit if their kid is “converted”.  Sad, but they exist.

    I don’t know of anywhere that this is a policy, but I’m sure that several church bodies have this as an unspoken rule at the most.  I know that our children are urged to go through a Discovery class prior to being baptized.  We require that a parent/guardian must attend with them.  This ensures that the parent realizes what is going on and that the child understands what is going on.  Both are important to us.  The child can still make a profession and pray with one of the counselors, but we will not baptize until we are pretty sure they understand their decision.

    As for Ed’s point about people who join solely to leave the church with current members - I agree with him there.  Seen it happen, not good.  If someone’s sole reason to be on staff at your church is to learn, make relationships, and then leave abruptly while encouraging others to come with you - that’s just not a healthy response.  HOWEVER, if a staff member comes on board with this purpose in the mind of everyone - to learn, to make relationships, and then to plant a new church - I would say that’s actually pretty cool.  It depends on the motives and whether they’re secret or shared.  I wouldn’t want to follow someone who secretly desired this; I couldn’t trust him.  However someone who did this with the blessing of the parent/host church would definitely have some of my respect.

  • Posted by

    I believe the “distance rules” came into play when people had unhealthy divisions among themselves. If we can’t get along, alt least move a reasonable distance away and be at peace with me. But… BUT.... I think there is a real problem of leaving a ministry situation under those unhealthy conditions and moving in right next door.

    Biblically, Absolom had this approach to the kingdom while his father David was still on the throne. He stood at the gate and whispered, “If i were king...” Those whose hearts were restless, listened and were led into rebellion.

    But...BUT… Pastors need to remember as well, that we do not ‘own’ our disciples. They want to be like Christ. We should lead them to loyalty to Christ, and loyalty to the Body of Christ which includes us, but is not singularly identified in us. Disciples should be free to be stirred by the Holy Spirit to anything in an atmosphere that promotes only the fear of God, not the fear of us as leaders. We as pastors must be very careful how highly we think of ourselves and the form of ministry we are part of.  It would not surprise me in the least that an expression of distaste for church pirates, as he calls them, wouldn’t lead to some of his own staff sensing that it is time to move into a new ministry… and perhaps next door!  I pray it isn’t so, but fear of anything but God moves people to fear of everything.

  • Page 6 of 6 pages

    « First  <  4 5 6
Post Your Comments:





Live Comment Preview:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: