Religion in America: What makes a televangelist tick?
Why is it important to make that distinction?
I think [those sorts of political issues] divide us, divide the country, and bring more disunity. A lot of times, it draws people away from God, and I think there's a fine line of balancing it. I know people are always asking, "What do you think, is this right?" but I just think we've got to be open. I have always said, "I'm not here to convict people or to condemn themGod's going to do thatI've just got to put the truth out there and the message out there and let god deal with the people's heart."
Does it bother you that your book, which advises steps such as "Enlarge Your Vision," "Let Go of the Past," and "Live to Give!" has been labeled self-help by some?
It doesn't. I wouldn't have necessarily put it in that category by choice, but it doesn't bother me because it does, it's there to help you live a better life, to live by God's principles, so it doesn't bother me at all.
What are your hopes for the future?
I don't know. It's been such a ride these six years. I never dreamed we'd be here, so I just try to stay open and always pray that God will take us where ministries haven't gone before. I believe we're in a day in America and the world where faith is at an all-time high, and I think that there are going to be some new doors opening up. Like we've seen with the book that crosses over, we can have more of an impact not just in the church world, but in the culture in general.
You truly believe that faith is at an all-time high?
I believe it is. I've never seen it like is today, where people don't mind talking about their faith. I don't feel like it's looked down on as it used to be. Even growing up, when we had a church of 1,000 that was a big deal, but now there are arenas being filled. I never dreamed that 40,000 people would come to a church like ours one day, so I don't know where it will go. It's a new world.
How do you keep the mega-church experience personal?
I think it starts from the platform: I try to act like I'm just talking to you; I don't try to talk down to people; I try to keep it warm and personalpersonable, I guess. The other thing is, in our big church, we have a lot of small groups that meet. Someone was telling me on the way here, "Well, I don't go to a big church because I want somebody to miss me if I'm not there," and I thought, we would miss youit'd just be in a different way. If you want to be involved, we would miss you. The bigger the church is the smaller it's got to get . . . At some point you've got to say, whether it's 200 or 20,000, you've just got to staff it right, and I think that's what we've done.