We asked 35 Christian leaders, “Who is the influencer with the biggest impact on your life and ministry?” Most of these leaders listed several influential thinkers, writers, innovators, and leaders more of us should get to know. This response is from Jordan Rice, lead pastor, Renaissance Church, New York, New York.
Timothy Keller’s “God Loves Cities” changed my life. In this talk, he offered a compelling, clear picture of the unique opportunity churches have to affect more people than ever by patiently and consistently engaging cities. Instead of demonizing the city for all of its ills, he offered a picture from Scripture that showed how revivals have begun in cities and flowed out and impacted their entire surroundings. One of the main reasons we started Renaissance Christian Church in Manhattan was because we wanted to engage a dense and highly influential neighborhood with the gospel.
Léonce B. Crump Jr., pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Georgia, has deeply impacted my life because he has a clear vision to see a truly diverse church in his city. Although there weren’t a lot of examples of an African-American pastor leading a diverse church before him, he had the audacity to believe Scripture’s example could be realized. Notwithstanding the difficulties he faced in accomplishing his vision, he was determined, and God has done amazing work of reconciliation and growth. His conviction is contagious and has given me hope we can see the same at our church. By the grace of God, we are growing a diverse community of followers of Jesus.
Among other things, Peter Scazzero has an unwavering commitment to a life lived with God. Although “successful” at his church, he has an amazing focus on what healthy, spirit-filled ministry looks like and the practices that will sustain intimacy with God.