Celebrity. Fame. Tabloids. We are a culture enthralled with the famous and every arbitrary thing they are doing at any moment. From the magazines and websites to the entertainment news shows on television, we always want to know what celebrities are up to. And this obsession with celebrity has a Christian version as well. There are Christians that elevate famous pastors, musicians, leaders, writers, etc. so much that I’m surprised there isn’t a Christian TMZ. Some pastors and leaders use the spotlight the correct way by keeping a healthy balance, are accountable to others and do their best to remain humble. Other leaders however, get sucked into the Celebrity Christian Culture.
The Celebrity Pastors spend far too much time trying to network and rub elbows with famous pastors and influential leaders, and not enough on the people they are called to serve in their congregations. They live on Twitter and Facebook and other social media and love to promote themselves or follow what other celebrity pastors are doing. They spend a lot of time and money traveling, visiting other churches and conferences to meet with the right people. When they learn of a new technology, trend or resource, they must have it. They dream about how to build their ministry and their name. On Sundays, they pop out of the green room and perform on stage and have one foot out the door before the closing prayer is over. If they do stick around after service, they usually gravitate toward the same circle of leaders and volunteers each week and don’t have time for the “regular” people. You will often see them with body guards or an entourage. (Note: security is often necessary, and there’s nothing wrong with technology or conferences or anything else in and of itself. )
This subculture of pastors seeking fame and status have forgotten about humility, servant leadership, and being a shepherd to their congregations. As a result of their pursuits, they often have little time for traditional ministry functions like counseling, discipleship and sermon preparation. They know they have the charismatic personality to pull off an exciting sermon even if they throw it together on Saturday, including stealing material from other pastors, piecing together blog posts and re-tweets. Hey, the congregation won’t know the difference, they’re too busy working all week to keep up with the Christian celebrity culture.
It’s time we look in the mirror and take a dose of humility. When we open the Bible , we read verses that tell us God is no respecter of persons, and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. On the night before He would suffer and die for us, He washed His disciples feet and set the example of servant leadership. He often shied away from crowds and would even tell those he healed to not tell anyone about it. Jesus was never impressed with the important people. He didn’t care if He was sitting in the house of a Pharisee; the prostitute that wept at his feet got His attention.
It’s important for pastors to remain humble, have wise people around to keep them accountable, and always keep the focus on serving the congregation. It’s also important to celebrate the hardworking pastors who serve faithfully, with grace and humility, so I’ve written the next post about The Steadfast Pastor.