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Andy Stanley Explains His ‘Stinking Selfish’ Parents Comment

‘As much as I wish folks would listen to the entire message, it really doesn’t diminish the absurdity of what I said.’
Andy Stanley Explains His ‘Stinking Selfish’ Parents Comment
Image: Willow Creek D/CH / Flickr

Atlanta-area megachurch pastor Andy Stanley has come under fire for remarks he made about small churches in a recent sermon.

Stanley—whose North Point Ministries includes six campuses and over 30,000 attendees a week—referred to parents who attend churches too small to have robust student ministries as “stinking selfish” in a February 28 message titled “Saved By The Church.” Stanley addressed a hypothetical parent who refused to attend a larger church for the sake of student ministry options for their kids. The sermon circulated online, especially as small church leaders raised concerns about his approach.

Stanley said:

When I hear adults say, “Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,” I say, “You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don’t care about your kids [or] anybody else’s kids” … If you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough middle schoolers and high schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it. Find yourself a big old church where your kids can connect with a bunch of people and grow up and love the local church. Instead… you drag your kids to a church they hate, and then they grow up and hate the local church. They go to college, and you pray that there will be a church in the college town that they connect with. Guess what? All those churches are big.

Faced with the online outcry, Stanley apologized on Twitter, saying “The negative reaction to the clip from last weekend's message is ...

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