In nearly four decades of ministry, Pastor Robert Morris knows all too well that ministry work can lead to burnout. In this episode of the Church InTension podcast, Dr. Jon Chasteen talks to Pastor Robert about what every pastor needs.
Robert Morris is the founding lead senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multicampus church based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 71,000 active attendees. His television program is aired in over 190 countries, and his radio program, Worship & the Word with Pastor Robert, airs in more than 1,800 radio markets across America. He serves as chancellor of The King’s University and is the bestselling author of numerous books, including The Blessed Life, Frequency, Beyond Blessed, and Take the Day Off. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married 39 years and are blessed with three children and nine grandchildren.
Jon: We’re excited to have you on today, Pastor Robert. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Robert: Thanks, Jon. I am really, really glad to be here, and I’m honored, honored, honored to be a part of The King’s University.
Jon: Awesome. Well, the first thing I want to ask you is, back in 2000, you started Gateway Church. Obviously, people can look at it today and see what it’s become, multiple campuses, influence around the world, ministering and affecting people and lives and pastors everywhere. But when you started this thing, when God first planted this thing in your heart, did you ever imagine it becoming what it is today?
What did you think? What was your like, “Okay, if we can just get to 2000, we’d be awesome. If we can get to …” What was your big dream, and did God surpass your biggest dream?
Robert: Well, I haven’t got to my big dream yet, and that’s kind of a…
Robert: The Lord actually gave me a dream of a church of 30,000 in one location in the metroplex, 300,000 in multiple locations in the metroplex, and then, I felt like it wasn’t so much whether it’d be Gateway Church, but reaching three million in the State of Texas, 30 million in America, and 300 million in the world.
Jon: Wow, wow.
Robert: So, I’m going to just keep on going and then pass it off to someone when I can’t keep going. But I would love to see … That’s my goal. I wrote it on the walls of a prayer center. You know, when you write scripture on the walls and then you cover it up with sheet rock, and we actually even uncover one of those boards. That was 20 years ago. I said, “God, I ask you for 300 million souls.”
Jon: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Well, you’re well on your way.
Robert: We’re trying.
Jon: I love it.
Jon: Well, what I want to talk to you about, through this process, you’re coming up on the 20 year anniversary of Gateway Church, what are some lessons you’ve learned? Obviously, there’s many, but a lot of our listeners are pastors. Not all of them are pastors, but many of them are. I know, like, even for me, I came to a Jimmy Evans Pastor School back in 2015, and I had just became a lead pastor not too long before that.
Jon: And I learned a lesson from you that hopefully I never have to walk through what you had to walk through, and I’m going to have you tell the whole underwear crisis story in a minute, but really, all of this is in your new book, Take the Day Off. God walked you through this process of teaching you a valuable lesson that now you’re passing on to other pastors so hopefully they don’t have to walk through some of those same difficulties that you walked through in those seasons.
Let’s talk about that even for a minute. It segues into your book perfectly. How did that happen? Where did you reach that point in your life where you kind of hit that wall and God began to stir in you this idea of Sabbath and taking the day off?
Robert: Yeah. Well, I call it the Great Underwear Crisis. And I said at one point, 2005, I looked back, I think it was 2003 or 4, but the bottom line is it was The Great Underwear Crisis.
Jon: This is a great story.
Robert: What happened was I’d just come back from a mission trip. I had all these things going on. Our oldest son, Josh, was getting married. And I just was worn out. I was exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually exhausted, and I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t know how that even felt.
And I’m getting ready for work, and I take a shower, and go into my closet, opened the underwear drawer, and I have one pair of underwear left. And I just stand there frozen thinking, “What am I going to do tomorrow? I mean, I’m not going to have any underwear tomorrow. And a pastor should wear underwear.”
Jon: They should. I agree.
Robert: That’s in the Bible somewhere about not chafing or something. I don’t know. So, I just thought … But, I couldn’t think. That was the point, I couldn’t think. I could wash. I can go to Walmart and buy a 12 pair for 97 cents. I couldn’t think, and I could feel myself getting emotional because I had a crisis and I couldn’t solve it.
So anyway, I put my underwear on, opened my sock drawer, and had no socks. And I started crying in my closet.
Jon: Who wouldn’t, right?
Robert: Yeah. Who wouldn’t? Yeah. Over socks. Spilled milk and socks.
Jon: That’s right.
Robert: And so, I was so emotional, I didn’t realize what had happened was my emotional tank was empty. So was my spiritual tank, my physical tank, my mental tank. I talk about that in the book, that we’re always … We’re like a fuel truck, these big 18-wheelers you see going around to gas stations, filling them up. And that’s what we do as pastors.
We’re filling up our families first. We’re filling up the leaders in the church. We’re filling up the church. We’re filling up other leaders. We’re filling up when we go speak to the young people, when we go to a wedding, we go to a funeral. We’re giving them fuel. We’re giving them the Word of God and life, and yet, at some point, we have to go back to the refinery and get fueled up ourself.
But, we don’t like it because when your truck’s filling up, you’re just sitting around doing nothing.
Jon: That’s so good.
Robert: And we’re workaholics, in essence. We’re addicted to it. And so, it was like the Lord told me, “Robert, you don’t like sitting around doing nothing while your truck’s refueling, and so, you just keep going to more gas stations, but what you don’t realize is, is you just have fumes.
Jon: That’s so good.
Robert: You’re just filling up these people with fumes, and you’re out yourself. And so, that’s when the Lord started really speaking to me about Sabbath. It’s the fourth commandment, and it’s the longest commandment with the most words. It has nothing in there about going to church, even though I believe we should go to church because that’s one way we refill our tanks, obviously.
But the whole thing is about ceasing from work, really taking a day off. And that’s why I named the book that Take the Day Off, and that would be probably one of the top five things that pastors need to hear, is you need to rest one day a week. You need to not write, not think about the church, not visionize, not strategize, not be a pastor for one day a week. And that’s for everybody. Everybody, God gave us a gift, and if you don’t take that gift, I think we’re actually dying slower. Faster, I should say.
Jon: I actually think … Yeah. There’s so many pastors out there listening right now, and even business women, business men, whoever is listening to this that need to hear this. And I know for me, in 2015, oddly enough, when I was at the session you were teaching back in 2015, I was sitting in TKU. Didn’t even really know where I was sitting. Little did I know I’d become the president some day. But, I was sitting in this auditorium, like, weeping. I honestly was. Because I was finally understanding what was happening to me, and I did not understand up until that moment, and I actually think that even the Holy Spirit is speaking through this podcast to some pastor out there right now because there are so many pastors that are just exhausted.
Jon: And they blame it on, “Well, I’m just doing the work of Jesus. People are dying and going to hell.” And so, we justify it in our minds, but I think it’s such a critical, critical aspect, and I love the way that you bring in the elements of the Sabbath being one of the commandments. I mean, one of the commandments. You wouldn’t ask somebody to commit adultery. Talk about that for a minute. I know you have a-
Robert: Yeah, yeah. I was in the office one day, standing around a group of pastors, and for me, Monday is my Sabbath. That would be my seventh day because I’m getting ready for the weekend, you know? And so, obviously, the New Testament talks about that there remains a rest for the people of God, and we enter it through faith. It does take faith to take a day off. I don’t think it has to be Saturday. I think we just figure out that has to be one out of seven days, once, at the end of your week.
So, everyone knows mine’s Monday. And one of the pastor said, “Hey, Pastor Robert. I know your Sabbath is on Monday, but would you do this?” And so, jokingly, just to make my point, I said, “Well, why don’t you ask me to commit adultery while you’re at it, and let’s knock off a 7-Eleven and shoot some people too.” You know what I mean? Which of the other 10 commandments would you ask me to violate?
You wouldn’t ask me to violate any of them, except, somehow, we think that we can violate the fourth commandment and there are no consequences. And I want to say to the pastors listening as well, I help a lot of pastors through restoration. There’s some sort of a moral failure, or some sort of a falling in their spiritual walk, their family, something. I’ve never gotten a phone call from a pastor that says, “I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family, and resting, and I’ve had a failure.”
Jon: Wow, that’s so good.
Robert: Never. It’s always the other … It’s always, “I’ve been going too much. I’ve been violating the Sabbath. And now, this happens.”
And what happens is, the enemy comes, and we’re so tired, we’re so exhausted, we just want to have some fun. And I’ll just go onto the morality issue, the sexual morality issue for a moment.
After I started the church, two or three years in, still didn’t quite understand about the Sabbath, but I started having thoughts, lustful thoughts, that I hadn’t dealt with in years. Just all of a sudden, being bombarded.
And so, I went to Pastor Jimmy Evans, and I said, “I’m having these lustful thoughts, and I don’t know what to do.” And I’ve shared maybe 15, 20 minutes with him, and he just sat there for a moment, and then he said to me … It’s just so crazy. He said, “Hey, how much golf are you playing?”
And I thought-
Jon: What’s that got to do with anything?
Robert: Yeah. I thought, “Jimmy, did you hear what I said?” And I said, “Well, I don’t play golf at all anymore. I don’t have time to play golf.” And he said to me, I’ll never forget, he said, “Robert, you’re tired and you need to have fun, and the word recreation is really two words: Re-Creation.”
Robert: It’s recreating ourselves. And he said, because you’re not doing it, Satan’s telling you that this is fun, and sex is fun, and yet, God gave us the way it’s fun, and that’s within marriage. But what he was doing was he was just saying to me, “Hey, you need to do something. You need to have some fun.”
And I’ve watched pastors get into …. Whether it’s a sexual, improper relationship, an emotional improper relationship, whether it’s medication, drinking excessively. Something happened, and the enemy gets them. But what they don’t realize is the open door in their life is not resting. They’re so tired.
Think about it. Jesus fasts 40 days, and the Bible specifically tells us, afterward, he was hungry, and Satan came to Him. And then, after He rebuffs all three temptations that are written there, it says that Satan left for a more opportune time. So, he knows, when you’re tired, that’s when he can get you-
Jon: That’s when you’re susceptible.
Robert: … to look at something on the internet, or watch something on TV, or drink too much, or do something. He knows that’s when he can get you. He knows when to attack.
Jon: So good. I love your vulnerability there because this is the Church InTension. There’s tension there, and this is a big aspect of tension for pastors, and we don’t see it coming. And they don’t call the devil the deceiver for nothing. He’s deceptive.
Robert: And he’s good at it.
Jon: And he comes when you don’t … And he’s good at it!
Robert: He’s the most subtle of all the beasts of the field.
Jon: The most subtle.
Robert: So, he’s the most cunning.
Jon: So, what would you say to the pastor out there that is not doing this? Let me say it this way. What are some warning signs? What are some subtle triggers? How do we noticed what the enemy is up to before he swings his sword at us?
Robert: Yeah. Well, one of the … You have to know your giftings, and a lot of times, there’s strengths tests and things like that. But for instance, I’m a decision-maker. That’s just part of one of my strengths. I have people bring me problems. I make decisions. You give me the information, I can decide. If they come and ask me, like, purchasing something for the church equipment or something, I say, “I need three or four options and then I’ll be able to tell you which one are we going to get the most value for that decision.”
So, Debbie says when I can’t make a decision, she knows I’m tired.
Robert: You know, she asked me something, and I have to pause for too long, she said, “You’re tired.” She knows. In the very same way, when I don’t want to study, I know I’m just tired.
Jon: That’s really good.
Robert: And I have certain days that I study, and when I’m not tired, when I’m rested, I actually look forward to getting in the Word and mining this subject, this burden that God’s given me for the week. But, when I dread it, then I know I’m tired.
Robert: So, there are just signs that you can start looking for, but when you dread doing what you’re called and gifted to do, then you’re tired.
Jon: That’s really good.
Robert: It’s that simple.
Jon: I think that’s so good, and I hope all the pastors and even non-pastors out there are listening to this. The other thing …
Jon: I want to shift gears just a little bit in the same vein, but this idea of something you learned early, or you learned early in your ministry life, and you’ve seen the fruit of that.
Another thing that I think nobody would argue with that you learned early in your ministry life was to overcome the preaching on giving.
Jon: And I know personally a lot of pastors just dread this. They dread preaching on giving. They avoid is at all costs, and they’ll just end up playing your video. That’s what they end up doing, Pastor Robert.
Robert: Yeah, yeah.
Jon: So, walk us through your philosophy here, or your mentality. How do you overcome that? How did you overcome that? You obviously did. Gateway Church is one of the most blessed churches, but they are a huge blessing to the body of Christ, so walk us through your mentality in this realm.
Robert: Well, we started giving shortly after I got saved. And when I say, “giving,” like living a larger tip with the track to try to minister to the server, try to lead her to Christ, or him.
And then, we started giving more. And just, the more we gave, the more God gave us to give, to be good stewards of, but we weren’t giving to get, we were getting to give. And that was the great thing. And so, we just kept doing it.
And then, God called us into some very extravagant giving, and so, we’ve walked in that, well, really, ever since. But about 10 years after that, a guy came to me and said, “I want you to come to my church and preach on giving. God told me you understand giving.”
And so, I said to him, “Well, I don’t think I could preach on it because I just feel like … I just don’t know. I’ll just have to pray about it.” He said, “Well, please pray about it.” Well, no one really knew we were doing these things, so God had told him.
So, I went to the Lord, and I said, “Well, I don’t want to preach on it.” And the Lord said, “Why?” And I said, “Well, I feel like it’d be bragging on myself.” And He said, “So, you’re the one that’s doing this? You’re the one that’s giving this money? I thought I was giving it through you. I thought this was my money.”
Robert: And I had a conversation with the Lord, and the Lord said, “So, haven’t you and Debbie been blessed?” And He wasn’t talking about materially. He was talking about our marriage, and our family, and our children, and just the joy that we experience.
And, “Don’t you believe it’s more joyful to give than to believe? Don’t you believe that more your …” Like, Paul quoted Jesus and said, “It’s more blessed to give.” Well, the word, blessed, you know is the Greek word, “Makarios,” which means, “happy.”
“So, aren’t you more happy when you give?” “Well, yeah.” “So, you don’t want anybody else to be happy?”
Robert: So, He just turned it around and He showed me, if I preach on giving, I’m helping them. I don’t have any ulterior motive, and to make sure I didn’t have a ulterior motive, I decided that I would never preach on giving, and allow them then, right after I preach on it, to give me a love offering.
Jon: That’s good.
Robert: And so, I’ve walked in that purity for all these years now. Now, a church will give me an honorarium sometimes. That’s fine. But I’m not going to preach to the people and-
Jon: And then take up an offering.
Robert: … then take an offering for me.
Jon: Right, right.
But what I did, was all those years when I preach on it, I’d say, “Now let’s give. And you can give anywhere you want except to me, because I want you to understand that’s not why I preach on giving. You can give to the church. You can give to another family. God might want you to give a car to a family here. You don’t know,” duh, duh, duh.
And so, anyway. I just want to say to a pastor, it’s not selfish or greedy to preach on giving because you’re doing it to help people, in the same way if you’re preaching on marriage, you’re doing it to help people. If you’re preaching on prayer, you’re doing it to help people. And the enemy says, “Well, if you preach on giving, you know the church is going to have more money.”
Well, first of all, what’s wrong with that?
Jon: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Robert: What’s wrong with the church having more resources to help windows, and single parents, and lost people? What’s wrong with that?
But, the second thing is, you’re helping them. When I go in to preach on giving, our church will play my CDs or DVDs on giving, the giving, normally, will go up 25-40% in the church. But it’s not the amount of money. Think about the families that that represents, that they have a break-through now in their life because they’ve gone from being selfish to being generous.
Jon: Yeah, because it’s really not about what the church is going to benefit from, although it will, what the Body of Christ is going to benefit from, which is will, but the individual is going to experience the principle of sowing and reaping, that may have never experienced that truth before.
Robert: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Jon: I love that. So, one thing I want to talk to you about, too. I’m just trying to pull everything I can out of you in this few minutes, pastor. But one thing that I experience a lot … I experienced it just last night so it’s fresh in my mind, but I talked to a pastor friend of mine who called me and just said, “Hey, I need you to talk me off the ledge.” And I think every pastor has a season they walk through, or a day, or a week, every other week sometimes, where you just need somebody to encourage you.
Jon: And I don’t know that that’s anything new. I think people have been needing to be encouraged for years, but I think there is an element to this day and age of pastoring that’s different than other generations, mainly because of social media, in my own opinion.
So, I want to talk to you for just a minute about what defines success for a pastor. And I really think that’s the question that needs to be asked, because what’s happening is culture is redefining what a pastor is through speaking circuits, and none of those are bad. Those are all great. But posts and comparison. Really, it’s just a comparison trap we put ourselves in.
We have a great Sunday. We baptized 10 people. And then, you get on social media, and see that Gateway baptized a million people. There’s this comparison trap, but really, what it boils down in is we’ve got to redefine what a pastor is. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Robert: Yeah, yeah. Well, the Lord had to really take me through the ringer on that as well, and that is that when I was discouraged, when I was depressed, He had to redefine success for me. And so, the Lord told me one day, “I want you to define success.” And I came up with all these definitions, and none of them were right according to Him. I even looked it up, and that one wasn’t right according to him, even Webster’s was wrong.
And so, I said, “Well, Lord, what is success?” And He said one word, “Obedience.” He said, “That’s the way I define it.” And I started looking at it through scripture, and that really is. I mean, Jesus gave parable, after parable, after parable that obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience. Just do what I tell you too.
And so, the Lord said to me, “What did I call you to do?” And it was so simple because I immediately knew because, for me, it actually happened when I was three years old.
Robert: And then, it was reinforced over and over and over again, but I told my parents when I was three years old that Jesus came in my room and told me He wanted me to preach, wanted me to be a preacher.
Jon: Gosh. Wow!
Robert: Yeah. And so, of course, my parents were real excited to get awakened at 11:30 when they were just dozing off. But the point is, I know that I’m called to preach the Word. So, when I get up on the weekends, and I preach the Word, it doesn’t really matter what the attendance is that weekend. Doesn’t matter what the offering is. It doesn’t matter whether the worship went well, or something messed up with the microphone. I do what God called me to do, and I can go home and say, “I did it to the best of my ability,” and I listen to my messages. I try to get better. I’ve never preached a perfect message, which, God’s had to say to me, “I didn’t call you to be perfect. You’re a human and you never will preach a perfect message.” But, He called me to preach.
And so, if I do what God called me to do, I don’t have the bouts of depression that I used to go through by comparing myself or by looking at others, or just by looking at the results. I can simply look at what I did, and it doesn’t matter, I can leave the results to God.
I know this is probably some little cute saying that someone else came up with, but, to me, it’s like it just dawned on me one day. You know what? I’m going to do my best and let God do the rest.
Jon: That’s so good.
Robert: I’m sure, again, that 100 people or a million people have said that, but that day was a revelation to me. And so, I even go into the pulpit every week thinking, “I’m going to do my best, and I’m going to let God do the rest.”
Jon: And truly know what God’s called you to do. It comes down to that. Obey what God told you to do. Don’t compare. Don’t look at other pastors or churches, or what they’re doing. What did God call me and my church to do, and that’s what we’re going to work out.
Were there any voices in your life, or still so, that just really spoke into you when you were in the gutter? Did you call a certain pastor? Who would be those people that you would reach out to?
Robert: Yeah. Well, the first real spiritual father God ever gave me was Pastor Olen Griffin. He’s one of our apostolic elders. And he helped me just tremendously with character issues, and then with being a pastor, walking in humility. He built a foundation in me, and he still, to this day, I would call him my pastor.
And then, right before Gateway took off, God brought Pastor Jack Hayford into my life, and he became a spiritual father as well. And I think God gives us many fathers and mothers in the Kingdom.
But one of the things that Pastor Jack helped me with was when Gateway began to get larger, the books, the television, I began to be known, he had dealt with those things, where Pastor Olen had never dealt with those things. And even though Pastor Olen laid that foundation in my life, now Pastor Jack was coming in with the walls, you know? And helping me.
Jon: That’s good. Yeah.
Robert: And so, what I saw from Pastor Jack was that you could be greatly used by God and still be a human. I thought once God uses me on a big scale, I’ll be a lot better than I am now. And you get there and you realize, “Hey, I’m the same guy.”
Jon: I’m the same guy.
Robert: “And all these people know me,” and then you start actually feeling like a hypocrite because you think, “Well, if they knew what I still struggle with …” And then you start dealing with shame. And Pastor Jack just helped me realize, “No, you can still be a human and be used by God on a great scale.”
And when you look at the humans that God used in the Bible, I mean, you can go down the line and name how every one of them were still making mistakes because they were human, but God still used them.
And so, Pastor Jack just helped me tremendously to know God can use me even though I’m still dealing with stuff in my own life.
Jon: So, this goes back, even, to an area of tension for the listeners, is, I want you to kind of lean into the mic and talk to the pastor out there who doesn’t have a pastor. Like, what happens to a pastor overtime that doesn’t have a pastor?
Robert: The same thing that happens to his sheep if he doesn’t pastor them. And I’d like to say that to every pastor. He believes that the people that God’s called him to pastor need a pastor. And yet, he doesn’t live it many times himself.
And so, I would say as much as they need you, you need someone in your life. You need a spiritual mom, a spiritual dad, a father, a pastor. And the thing when I think about pastors if they love to encourage people. You did it last night to a pastor. And obviously, I love words. The word, “encourage,” literally means, “to put courage in.”
Jon: Impart it. Yeah.
Robert: That’s really what it means.
Jon: That’s so good.
Robert: The “en,” comes from the Latin, but we spell it with an “I.” “In.” It is “In-courage,” put courage in someone. And that’s what a pastor does. He loves to do it. It’s his gifting.
And then, Paul said, even, “You have 10,000 teachers but few fathers.” If you think about it, our mothers are built by God that they nourish. They’re the ones, when you fall down on your bike, you run to your mom because she’s going to hold you, she’s going to say, “Baby, it’s okay.” What’s your dad going to do? He’s going to say, “Hey. Get back up on that bike.”
Jon: That’s right.
Robert: “Let’s do it again.” He’s going to call the man out in you. We need that.
I think the church has been over-mothered and under-fathered for years.
Jon: Wow, that’s so good.
Robert: And I don’t mean that in a slight toward women at all, or mothers.
Jon: No, not at all.
Robert: Because we need to be mothered. We need that nourishment. We need that. But we also need a father who’s going to call the disciple out. And I say that whether you’re male or female because, as males and females, we need someone …
Even to this day, I like for my wife to hold me. And I’ve had long days, “Just hold me.” I like to be nourished. I like that. But I also like it when someone says to me, “Okay. Now, let’s get back up on the horse and let’s do it again.”
Jon: That’s really good. So, at some point in your relationship with Pastor Jack as he had began at King’s University, and through your process of getting to know him, relationally, at some point there became this passing of a baton in a sense, where The King’s University that was in Van Nuys is now here in Southlake. And I’m honored to be the president of that. So, thank you for allowing me to do that, by the way.
But, can you talk me through that process? How did that happen? It’s not like you didn’t have anything else to do, Pastor.
Robert: That’s true.
Jon: Why do you want to take on a fully accredited university with bachelors, and masters, and doctorate degrees, and theologians, and administration, and all the things that come with a university, both logistically and financially? I mean, Gateway brought on, not a burden, but obviously, a good burden. A blessing. But you brought on a massive task.
Walk us through that process, and how did God give you clarity to do that?
Robert: Well, and as you say that, it’s in some ways like adopting a child that’s getting ready to go to college, you know? And so, right when you adopt the child, you’ve got to enroll that child in some university-
Jon: And pay the bills!
Robert: … and pay the tuition. Yeah. So, that’s kind of the way it was. But it’s good because I know that child’s going to graduate from college and help a whole lot of people.
But, it still was a responsibility when the Lord asked me. It started with being on a sabbatical, and we talked about taking a day off. About every five years, I actually take an extended time off, an extended sabbatical. We do this for missionaries that are overseas, and we don’t think about missionaries in America. In other words, pastors.
So, on my sabbatical, I just rest and recuperate, and toward the end of it, God normally speaks one thing to me. Just one word that’s for the next season. And what He spoke to me was, “Train the next generation for ministry.” And it was very clear that He put that prepositional phrase on the end. Not just, “Train the next generation,” but, “for ministry.”
I have this real burden. We need Christian lawyers, Christian doctors, Christian school teachers. I’m very burdened about that, but if we don’t have … And this will sound strange, Christian pastors …
Jon: Right, right.
Robert: If we don’t have pastors who are actually Christ-followers-
Jon: That’s really good.
Robert: … and believe He is the Messiah, and He is the only way to heaven and that the Bible is true, we’re going to lose the next generation, and the next, and the next. So, that’s my burden, is to train people who are called for ministry.
But I come back from that sabbatical, and Elaine was a young adult at that time, not married, going into young adult. She said, “Dad, we go, every Monday night, to a home, just 10, 15 of us, and watch Monday Night Football. And I just wanted to know if we can do it at our house sometimes.”
And I said, “Yeah, but Sugar. I know you, former cheerleader, you’re outgoing, you’re popular, and then it’s going to be in the pastor’s home, and people would like to be able to talk to me some. So, let’s put a limit on it. You said 10-15. Let’s limit it to 15.”
And so, she said, “Well, can we say 20? Could we say 25? 25, would be the top, Dad.”
Robert: It was like God talking to Abraham.
Jon: Yeah, yeah.
Robert: So, I said, “Okay. 25 is the … That’s the top. That’s the top.” So, she said, “Okay.” Anyway, on Monday night, 72 young people came to our home.
Robert: 72. Yeah, 72.
Jon: It’s a good thing she’s starting a church with her husband down in Houston.
Robert: Yeah, that’s correct.
Jon: Those are good numbers.
Robert: Yeah, they actually had over 250 at their [crosstalk 00:32:21] worship.
Robert: And they haven’t even started the church yet, so she and Ethan are doing a great job. In Houston, by the way, if you know someone in the Sugarland area that doesn’t have a church.
Anyway. But I didn’t get to watch any of the game. None of it. And they were asking me theological questions the whole time. Now, they were just asking questions to learn, but I knew they were theological. And I thought to myself, “What if they ask someone who doesn’t have great theology?” And when they say, “Well, how do we know that there is a hell?” And the person doesn’t know how to explain. We know there’s a Hell because Jesus spoke more on Hell than He did on Heaven. He spoke about an actual man who went to Hell. It wasn’t a parable. He told us a person’s name in the story. The rich man and Lazarus, He didn’t make that up. He talked about Abraham in that passage.
So, anyway. That was one of the confirmations. And then, Pastor Jack, God to spoke to him the same thing, and Pastor Jack came to me and said … The Lord actually asked me before, “Would you take the university if Pastor Jack asked you?”
Jon: Before he met with you, the Lord spoke?
Robert: Before, yeah, the Lord spoke to me. I knew it was a joy, but it was also a responsibility. But I said, “Yes. Lord, if you’re asking me and Pastor Jack’s asking me, I will.” And two months after that, he came to me and said God had spoken to him.
And so, now, it is a responsibility, but it is a joyful responsibility because I am watching young men and young women get so excited about learning the Bible, and I know I’m affecting many, many generations to come by what’s happening at The King’s University.
Jon: That’s really good. Well, in closing, I ask all of my guests to do this same thing, to give to you a shameless plug. The only thing you would ask them to do besides enroll in TKU, obviously, they need to enroll in TKU. But outside of that, I just want you to lean into the mic, and whatever’s on your heart, or whatever the Lord would give you to speak to a pastor out there. Maybe it’s not even a pastor, somebody that’s just doing ministry in the marketplace, but what would be a word that you would just be really passionate to share in this moment?
Robert: Well, I would say the main thing is to keep your relationship with Jesus fresh, whatever you have to do. And so many of us feel trapped, so many of us feel like, “If I were to say to the elders, or the deacons, or the committee, whoever it is, that I need more time with my family, I need more time to pray and prepare messages, I need this, I need that,” they fear losing their job.
And the problem with that is that your job is not your provider. Your job is not Jehovah Jireh. And so, I always believe, if you do things God’s way, God’s going to take care of you. And the traps that you’re feeling right now are probably in your own mind. Every time I’ve gone to the elders, and I really do believe the elders are God’s voice to me, but every time I go to them and say, “Guys, I need this,” because as the church grows, I have to continue to limit what I’m doing because I have more opportunity.
And every time I’ve gone to them and said, “I need this,” or “I need that,” their response is always, “Pastor, whatever you need. Whatever you need to be able to be the pastor of Gateway Church, that’s what we want to do.”
So, I would just encourage pastors out there who feel like they’re trapped, and they’ve got too much on their plate to speak up, to talk to someone, and to watch God work a miracle.
Jon: That’s really good. Pastor Robert, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I know I speak for all of our listeners when I just say, thank you. Thank you for everything that you’ve done in the Body of Christ. Thank you for being dedicated and giving your life to the cause, for the Kingdom. And I love you, personally. I appreciate you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for stewarding the kings, and everything you do in my life. I love you, I appreciate you.
Listeners, thank you so much for listening. If you want more resources, this is just the beginning, we have a website called churchintension.com. And you can go there, you can find all kinds of articles from the faculty of TKU, from pastors at Gateway, from other pastors, from other people. You can go and check out churchintension.com.
Also, if you want to know more about Pastor Robert and his ministry, you can go to gatewaypeople.com. You can check him out on any social media platform, just go to PS Robert Morris. That’s Pastor, PS, Robert Morris. We believe in you. Thank you so much for what you are doing for the Body of Christ. No matter what you are doing out there, we believe in you. Do not give up. Do not quit. We will see you next time. Have an amazing day.