Who Do We Look To?
Those of you who know me, or have been reading this site for any amount of time, know that I have an appreciation for the larger churches in this country. While I wholeheartedly believe that there is an important place for the small church as well, I do believe that those who associate the megachurch with the anti-Christ fail to recognize some of the ways that these churches have impacted the Kingdom for the better. That said, I do believe that there is one significant issue that is an unintentional side effect of the megachurch boom: celebrity pastors.
For our purposes, I am using the term celebrity pastor fairly broadly, I am thinking of pastors who are leading large churches and are relatively well known within their region. While their names may not have national prominence, these are pastors who are well known within their contexts, and are known to have a following. Celebrity pastors come from all tribes and streams of the church, whether we like to admit it or not. The celebrity pastor phenomena is not something that is good or bad, it is the reality of the culture in which we live. That said, I do believe that it can be dangerous if not handled properly.
One of my least favorite parts of developing Ministry Briefing is the sheer number of stories that read about pastors failing morally. Many of these stories are played out on a very small scale, in small towns across the country, but some are played out on a far larger stage. Regardless of the sin issue or the size of the stage, the damage done by these failures has a significant impact on all those who are connected to the person who had the moral failure. The only difference between the small church pastor and the megachurch celebrity pastor is the number of people connected to the story (for more on this check out seven signs you are primed for a fall and church planting rock stars).
So why am I writing about this today? As you know, this month has found me neck deep in a class focusing on the first half of the Old Testament. Over the past few weeks, I have seen a steady stream of leaders serving the people of Israel: Moses, Joshua, Samson, Deborah, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, and so on. While this list has many different personalities representing several different situations, there is one common denominator linking them all: they are flawed.
As our professor is so quick to remind us, the only one who keeps all his promises and lives up to all expectations in the Old Testament is Yahweh.
Soak on that for a minute.
In our celebrity driven culture it can be so easy to look at a pastor, a church leader, or a “super star christian” and base our faith off of them… instead of basing it off of our Creator.
While it sounds ludicrous, it is incredibly easy for us to fall into the trap of replacing our Creator with a well respected church leader… and if we are doing our job right, it can be easy for others to do the same with us.
How do YOU maintain focus on God and not man… and how are YOU helping those following YOU to do the same?