An ‘Ordinary Dude?’

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Traders Point Pastor Aaron Brockett is unlikely, unconventional, unwavering

Aaron Brockett, Traders Point Lead Pastor

Aaron Brockett, Traders Point Lead Pastor (Photo by Andrea Bowman, bnb By Three Photography)

“Hi guys, I haven’t seen most of you since Christmas. Where have you been?” pastor Aaron Brockett asked his audience last Easter. “You actually may not want to come back because it’s hard.”

“Hard to be a follower, not just a fan, of Jesus” is Brockett’s message which he is not afraid to preach. And it’s working. Since taking the helm of Traders Point Christian Church in Whitestown in 2007, this 36-year-old self proclaimed, “ordinary dude” is the leader of one of the fastest growing churches in America according to Outreach magazine’s 2011 ranking.

Unlikely

An introvert by nature who is surprisingly quiet one-on-one but confidently electrifying on stage, Brockett’s path to the ministry is an unlikely one. Growing up in Missouri, he had no desire to be a preacher as his grandfather was.

“My goal was to not get noticed,” Brockett said. “I’m quiet. I wasn’t good at anything. Preaching was the last thing I thought of. I got C’s in speech in high school.”

He instead pursued a counseling career and with encouragement from friends he enrolled in Ozark Christian College.

But a transformational moment struck during his freshman year while he was attending a conference and the speaker talked about the greatest job in the world – a preacher.

“It hit me,” Brockett said. “I was uncomfortable. I really wrestled with it.”

Later, after what he calls a “temper tantrum surrender” he responded, “OK, God, you’re gonna be sorry!”

Within a month, at the age of 19, he had the opportunity to be a guest preacher at a small church in Arkansas. Shaking, he remembers approaching the large pulpit with his 25-page manuscript. Eight minutes later he was finished, reading it without once looking up.

“I thought, ‘That is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to do it again!’” he said.

The Brockett Family from left: Conor, Aaron, Kennedi, Lindsay, Kadence and Campbell.

The Brockett Family from left: Conor, Aaron, Kennedi, Lindsay, Kadence and Campbell (photo by SB Childs Photography)

 

Unconventional

He has done it again, many times since that first sermon 17 years ago, and now Brockett rarely looks down at his more than 4,000 word manuscripts. He has also learned a few things along the way.

“Good preaching goes, ‘Dude, you beat me to the objection,’” Brockett said. “Then it’s about application.”

With a conversational style delivered with urgency and passion, his 50-plus minute messages are honest, bold and challenging, often using self deprecating humor to relate to his multi-generational audience and tackling the toughest parts of the Bible head on. He once preached a sermon on Hell that lasted more than an hour.

“They will stay with you if you take them somewhere,” Brockett said. “We want to create tension that people are begging to answer.”

For Brockett and his staff, the answer comes from the Bible with messages that keep even teenagers on the edge of their seats.

“He preaches God’s word straight from scripture. He does not sugar coat it or leave out any of God’s message that is hard to hear,” Alex Follett, a Brebeuf Jesuit junior, said.

Despite his popularity, Brockett is his toughest critic.

“In my mind, I’ve never preached a sermon that was greater than a 6 out of 10,” he said.

His predecessor, Howard Brammer, who led Traders Point for 24 years would disagree.

“Though he is only 36 years of age and doesn’t yet have the benefit of many years of experience, I consider Aaron Brockett to be among the finest preachers in the nation,” Brammer said.

Preaching is one aspect of TPCC, but the contemporary music sets the energetic tone on Sundays with growth literally through the roof, as a 60,000-square-foot addition is scheduled for completion this fall. Statistics support the church’s growth with numbers showing average weekly attendance topping 4,200 and 2012 total giving close to $11 million, despite the fact that collection baskets are not passed every week.

With statistics to brag about, the annual report and staff instead focusses on stories of transformation.

“We don’t focus on the numbers. We ask ‘Are we healthy?’ because healthy things grow,” Brockett said. “We don’t want to be thought of as a big, glossy mega church. We just want to make a difference. We’re not trying to grow the church for anybody but Jesus.”

 

Unwavering

Jesus is Brockett’s message with an unwavering faith that is convincingly infectious and a passion that leaves those who hear him in wonder and wanting more.

“God ignites obedience, and even if they don’t believe it, they believe you believe and it’s enough to get people to go,” Brockett said. “God uses a leader for a season. I’m nothing special. I hope people would see me as a regular guy who’s available for God to use.”

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8 Comments

  1. Preaching is easy if the goal of the preacher is to be liked
    by his congregation.

    But imagine a coach who did nothing but praise his
    team. He never addresses their faults,
    never addresses their short-comings. How
    much progress will you see in that team?
    My guess is that things will get worse, not better.

    Discipleship is all about us becoming more like Christ every
    day. And that means we need coaching in
    order to do it better.

    Aaron has an ability to gently confront our shortcomings in
    such a way that we continue to listen to him speak, we don’t turn him off. Then, not only do we agree with his
    assessment of where we are, but we buy into his suggestions of how we become
    better disciples.

    Aaron’s goal doesn’t seem at all that he wants you to like him;
    (but that is a by-product of what he does).
    His goal is to help us understand our calling to being more Christ-like
    and he consistently offers us insights to making that happen.

  2. Aaron is the “real deal”. He is just Aaron; an exceptional “ordinary dude”. He doesn’t elevate himself, he elevates Jesus. His messages speak truth and sometimes that’s not so easy to hear.

  3. WOW!! It is refreshing to read an article that gets the facts and general feel so correct! As a member of TPCC, I can vouch that you have definitely captured the essence of Aaron and his striving to point everyone to a strong relationship with Jesus. Keep up the good work!

  4. Kris Betzold on

    Great article….I am not a writer but I will share that TPCC as a whole has helped change my life. For the last 15 years I have prayed that my husband would some day become involved in a church family and be able to gain is faith back with Jesus. Some good friends of ours invited us to TPCC and we were hooked. Not only by the amazing sermon we heard that day about Generous Giants but the whole atmosphere of the church. Everyone said hi and my kids were not afraid to go into their classes. On our way home, my husband looked at me and said…”I think I found my home” Ever since that day, I have thanked Jesus for answering my prayers and for opening my husbands heart. Our spiritual journey together has just begun but with the family we have at TPCC, I see this journey being the most amazing one we will every take together.

  5. I am thankful to be a part of Traders Point. My family and I moved here from California and finding a Church was the top of our list of priority. We were skeptical of Traders at first because of the size but as we heard Aaron, Jake and Matt preach directly from the word I knew my family had a home. I hope to never grow tired of hearing a pastor say “let’s open our bibles to….” and then the room is filled with pages turning to the scripture. I personally take notes and use an iPad to follow during service but that sound draws me back to a leather bound book.

  6. Michael Hornung on

    My wife and I started going to TPCC in August of 2015. We were both at ease and welcomed. Mr. Brockett Is a joy to listen to every week and his way seems to draw you in and makes you feel like you have known him for years. God sure is working through him and I for one am thankful for that. This article was spot on and God is good.

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