A Tough Act to Follow

A conversation with Jonathan Falwell.

How do you follow a larger-than-life predecessor? In 2007 Jonathan Falwell became the senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, after the sudden death of his father, Jerry Falwell, who had founded the Thomas Road church in 1956, and founded Liberty University in 1971 and the Moral Majority in 1979. For seven years, Jonathan has ably led the Thomas Road church. Warren Bird of Leadership Network interviewed Jonathan about his experience of following someone as influential as Jerry Falwell.

Before that terrible day of your father's collapse, how much discussion was there about a successor to your father at the church?

There wasn't a lot of discussion. My dad's plan was to be here until he was about 115 years old, and he had every intention of continuing to serve. He didn't believe in retirement. I differ with him on that. I do believe in retirement; the older I get, the more I believe in it! (Laughter.) But Dad always said he wanted to die ...

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