Thursday, May 14, 2009

Knute Larson's passion, heart will be tough to replace

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Pastor Knute Larson of The Chapel to talk about his final week with the church. He's retiring after more than a quarter century to spend more time with his family and help develop younger pastors. His final sermon will be this Sunday.

Knute is one of those few leaders who clearly puts his organization above himself. I know that a lot of corporate CEOs and politicians will tell you they do .. and point to accomplishments to show how much they value their supporters .. but few will miss a beat to talk about themselves.

Not Knute. Getting him to talk about himself in great detail is like slaying a giant with a slingshot. It doesn't happen often, and when it does, it's worth remembering.

Ask him why he thinks he was chosen to be a leader, and he'll quickly push the answer to "God is Good." Ask him if he thinks he's made a difference, and he'll usually end the sentence with a message about God's grace.

There's staying "on topic" and then there's Knute.

His heart is genuine and his intentions are always aimed at reaching the unreachable. During our interview, I had the opportunity to walk up to the podium at the Worship Center. The podium is sacred ground for pastors. Knute told me he enjoys having it there as a symbol of the way preachers have spread the Good News for centuries.

Still, to stand there next to someone whose words are aimed at reaching into the souls of thousands and guiding them to a journey of Salvation, well .. that's a lot of weight to carry on your shoulders. Knute likened it to my job of delivering the news, but I was quick to point out that if I make a mistake, people can move on with their day and be ok .. but if HE makes a mistake on Sunday, it could drive someone away from the church or confuse them forever. BIG difference.

Knute told me that this final sermon will come from Acts as Paul tells the disciples that he is leaving them because he loves them. Great parallel.

I could go on and on .. and I know that I don't know Knute nearly as well as so many others in the community .. but I do know that he's been a great leader, a good friend, and a solid example for us all.



Anonymous said...

As I mentioned on Twitter, good job on the Knute Larson story. He is a respected leader that this area will miss when he is gone. He was the only pastor I ever went out of my way to see preach.

david nelson said...

hi eric

this is your freind dave nelson. have know knute fro many years as a paster and freind. you blog has said just how i feel about knute. he will be lost in the akron community

Mencken said...

Knute was the definition of unctuousness.

Anonymous said...

Unctuousness. Wow. I learned a new word today.

Bruce Morrow said...

I know Knute Larson. He's not the man people make him out to be.

For over 25 years this personage lived in total luxury, freeloading off others to accomplish the same!

Plus he and his church (The Chapel) persecuted poor people, myself included.

Maybe some can dismiss all this sweep it under the carpet, but I do know how I and otheres were treated by this Larson and The Chapel. Hell will be populated with blokes like this.

I miss him not. Now off to another life of luxury for Mr.Knute Larson.