Anthony Mangun and I are not big buddies. I’m not sure either of us has time or temperament for many “big buddies.” Bro.A. is someone I admire, and from whom I have learned a lot. It has come via observation and paying attention to the principles he uses rather than duplicating his application. For those who wish to learn – much can be gained by watching, listening and thinking, “How can I apply that concept in my life.”
Before following his parents as pastor in Alexandria, Bro. Mangun had been an effective evangelist and pastor. Anthony Mangun created an identity distinct from his father and mother but which has been a continuation of their ministry. It has always interested me that Bro. A. created a clear ministerial identity away from Alexandria before he returned to Alexandria to pastor. The last observation may be insightful as we consider generational transitions in local church leadership.
Since what I’ve learned from Bro. A. comes from observation. I’ve seen only the broad strokes.
Be passionate – His message whether to the local church or to a conference is always about a topic that he can speak about with passion. There is a fire in his preaching and you sense the need to rush to the cause he communicates. His passion is not worked up; his passion is lived out! A. Mangun passionately cares about the people he pastors and the lost in the city of Alexandria. His greatest preaching is done right there at the Pentecostals of Alexandria.
Be prepared – The man delivers a good meal every time he preaches or teaches. This is a result of reading, study, preparation and prayer. I’ve noted times when he was surreptitiously reading a book on his IPad while we were in a “dry place” of a General Board meeting. Prepared people never stop reading and studying. Take advantage of every moment available to keep preparing yourself.
Do church right – One of the most compelling things I took away from Because of the Times was a session where Bro. A. and his wife showed us how to do church wrong. The musicians and singers were all in a different key, the soloist was not on the platform when it was time to sing and the church service was just a mess. I’ve never been to a service in Alexandria where church was not done right. I’m not talking about stilted or constrained, the Holy Ghost can interrupt and does, there is an exuberance of worship; but there is no dead time, no confusion . . . a flow. When Bro. A. shared that I pastored no more than 60 people, but went home to start using the pattern they shared for planning a service and having everything in place for it to flow. Plan every service as though 2x the usual crowd was going to be there. Write out the plan and meet with those participating in the service.A simple service planning form can be found here.
Being systematic is not sinful – A major impact came at another conference when Bro. A. shared that he had 20 topics he tried to preach on 2 times each year. Not only did he try but he had a grid on which he recorded when he preached on those topics. I went home and using almost the same 20 topics he used developed my own grid. It kept me preaching/teaching a well-rounded diet to those I pastored. Preaching/teaching in series strengthens what you do and having specific targets forces one to preach outside their comfort zone. My 20 topics are similar to Bro. A.
Work ethic – The man works – works hard, works too hard. A church of 3k attendees will result in many counseling appointments. If you look behind the scenes, Bro. A., his wife, mother and other pastoral team members spend a lot of time preaching funerals, doing wedding ceremonies . . . but they still make at least one Christmas visit to the shut-ins and those in retirement homes. Some would imagine that having a church of 3k means an abundance of leisure time. It just isn’t so. From this guy I learned that I needed to keep regular office hours and to be consistent in availability. Work ethic – he does better returning phone calls than I do. If you are a full-time pastor give God and the people you lead at least 50 hours each week! Work hard!
I know some of you have had the privilege of working closer to Bro. Mangun. I’m interested in your “take aways!” Will you share them as a comment.
UPDATED 12/25/2016 ———————————————————–
Something else I learned from the Pentecostal of Alexandria was the value of an intentional effort for making disciples. It evolved into a consistent and concentrated effort. I don’t know that our church in Springfield will ever lead the nation in conversions; it is my goal to be effective in retaining those we convert. Much of my experience with disciple-making is reflected in my “Not an Ostrich” Disciple-maker’s packet available at CarltonCoonSr.Com.