Estimate the enemy with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

“Who goes to war or builds a house without first counting up the cost?”

Gregory Morgan
  • Gregory Morgan

Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church

  • Contact: 390 South 39th St, San Diego 619-263-5557
  • Membership: 40
  • Pastor: Gregory O. Morgan 
  • Age: 62
  • Born: Monroe, LA
  • Formation: Faith Evangelical Seminary (Faith International University), Tacoma, WA
  • Years Ordained: 33

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a minister?

Pastor Gregory Morgan: I felt the calling in my life when I was about 9 or 10 years old. But my pastor would not give a license to preach to a little boy. So he waited until I was 18. There was no moment when I heard a baritone voice from heaven, saying, “Go!”

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: Over the years, we’ve made it concise and to the point. We’re here to love God with all our hearts and all our minds – to love our neighbors as ourselves – and to reach the community — both where we are and beyond — with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

SDR: What work of literature has had an impact on your life as a pastor?

PM: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. It’s not a textbook on knives and swords and battlefields and kung-fu battles and hand-to-hand combat so much as a leadership text. I have always endeavored to better myself in terms of my leadership qualities. As a matter of fact, when I was at Faith Seminary finishing the master’s program, the president called me into the office and said to me that he wanted to encourage me as a preacher to focus on leadership. So this Art of War has been a great inspiration to me. Sun Tzu’s first emphasis, for instance, is to estimate the enemy. If you can’t determine the strength or strategy of the enemy, you’re going to lose; it’s the same when you’re in a community and determining who or what you’re up against. Jesus himself said, in effect, “Who goes to war or builds a house without first counting up the cost?” (cf. Luke 14:31). The initial estimation, which is what the first part of the book is about, matters the most.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PM: Jails and prison. Often we look at individuals who are in jail, or sentenced to prison for long terms, as being finished, done, and having reached a point of no return with no hope for them. I have ministered to men in prison and jail as part of the Urban Ministry Institute. And we are partners with Prison Fellowship, and train men and women in prison who come out to plant churches, doing very effective jobs. These are men and women who were given up on. Prior to coming to Christ, you wouldn’t have slept in the same room with some of these individuals with both eyes closed – they weren’t necessarily murderers, but they were hardened in what they were doing: drug-selling, drug-using, stealing and robbing.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: In the words of Christ, “In my father’s house, there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2). Then the words of the apostle Paul, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). So we go wherever the Lord is. He calls that place his father’s house. Biblically, it’s been referred to as heaven. People either go to either heaven or hell. One goes to hell through rejection of the offer of salvation through Christ.

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