An Inspiring Leader and Life Changer
Dr. William “Bill” Ankerberg has been my pastor for over five years and without a doubt his teaching and leadership at Whittier Area Community Church (WACC) has changed my life for the better in many ways. I have attended many churches (all sizes) in my Christian journey, but, none have come close to impacting my life as WACC.
What makes this church body so different?
Without a doubt it is its leader – Pastor Bill.
Here’s why. He makes each one of us who hear his words or those who know him better human beings.
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” - Jim Rohn
And here’s how he’s been able to do that. He lives his life transparently from the pulpit, office and home. He lives his life honestly and has a God-given ability to understand where people are at and just loves them no matter their spiritual level. When you are with him, you immediately feel accepted and not judged – which is a huge accomplishment coming from a Pastor of 4,000 attendees. He’s like the perfect Dad.
He’s kind. He’s generous. He feels for those who are in need. He wants to make a difference and as such, he’s teaching us those things. The mission statement for the church is really his mission statement – Follow God + Love People. He loves his God and is obedient while loving people. And he especially loves providing for people.
I have to admit that I was a bit more shallow of a person before I came to WACC, but, through the church’s teaching I have become more generous, more helpful to others, less self-centered, more God loving, considerate, kind and even more innovative in my thinking. I’ve also changed my priorities in life from not pursuing my own best interests – but, trusting God’s plan for my life.
And I can fully say I’ve made these changes, because Pastor Bill gave me great opportunities to learn how to through endeavors he has put forth from the pulpit. Here’s a short description of some events that helped me grow.
*Serve Weekend - One weekend a year the church shuts its doors so we can go out into the community and provide services for others in need. The church pays for all the necessary tools and equipment and off we go helping in over 100 projects. In my time there, I’ve fed the firemen, washed police cars, packed up supplies for soldiers and painted new lines on an elementary school playground. This event has changed my life and made me more civic minded.
We fed local firemen for an entire weekend to say thanks.
*Homeless Shelter – Our church assists in helping the town’s cold-weather shelter by providing meals to 40-some homeless adult individuals. I’ve had the pleasure to lend a hand serving them a warm meal and have met some wonderful people who are trying to turn their lives around. This event has opened up my heart more to others.
*The Malawi Miracle – The Malawi Miracle is an event that I will be proud of my entire life. Because of Pastor Bill’s heart to help those in need, he wanted to help build a pediatric hospital in Malawi at the African Bible College. His daughter recently ministered there and when she asked her dad if we could build a much-needed hospital in that location, he thought we could. He originally thought it would only take $60,000 to build it to help the people in the poorest nation of the world. So he decided that he would donate our Christmas offering to go toward building that 40 bed hospital. He implored all of us to give as much as we could sacrificially. Previously, the most our church has ever raised during Christmas was $27K. So we needed a miracle. And then we heard that it would take over $106,000 to build the AIDS hospital. We needed a mega-miracle. But, the people responded. They gave up Christmas presents and vacations. They sold jewelry, lemonade and cookies. They gave up physical therapy. And what was the final number? The church members gave over $500,000. It’s a miracle I will never forget and a project I am proud to say I was a part of. To see a video created by Bono and Willow Creek Church about this Miracle, click here.
I could go on and on about him. But, there just isn’t enough time…but, here are few other top line points about him that makes him so inspiring.
*He loves current events and the media. He frequently goes to the movies and always starts out the sermon with something ripped out of the pages. This trait makes him so relatable to others.
*He answers his email quickly and is someone who is extremely approachable.
*He loves to learn and learn from others.
*He gives up his pulpit from time to time to give experience to other pastors on his staff.
*His management style is team leadership. He doesn’t micro-manage and supports good ideas.
*He stands by his word and is a man of integrity in all he does.
*His sermons are honest – he never asks us to do something that he doesn’t have to do himself. Just take a look at this recent sermon when he told us how difficult marriage is even when you’re a pastor.
I am a better person with Dr. Bill Ankerberg in my life. If you are reading this and do not live near Whittier, you can still learn from this wonderful man by visiting WACC.net or by dropping him a email and telling him hello. Any communication with him will change your life.
Thank you Pastor Bill for your support and love!
This post is a second in a series I have produced under the Linchpin title. The Linchpin philosophy is based on Seth Godin’s best-selling book, Linchpin. Linchpins are those people who make a difference in your life. It is my hope that we all are Linchpins to others during our lifetime.