The Problem With Celebrity Pastors
There is a disease, a viral infection that has swept through the body of Christ. It is no respecter of persons, places, denomination or creed. It is an infection that starts in the body causing paralysis but eventually moves to the head and brings on delusions of grandeur. I am talking about the “Man of God” disease aka celebrity pastors.
Back at the start of the Reformation, the church had taught that priests were the conduits between man and God. That man had to come to the priests to receive forgiveness of sins and have the grace of God bestowed upon them in the form of blessings. The priests were “men of God.”
This disease has once again infected the church. It matters not which denomination we belong to. It matters not which doctrine or teaching we adhere to.
The priests began to think more highly of themselves than they ought. They were enamored by their perceived value. They would sell what was called indulgences where they gave permission to break God’s moral law. They would wear expensive clothing and expensive jewelry that indicated their wealth and power in the church.
This disease has infiltrated the church. We have arrogant leaders enamored with their power and influence. Instead of making themselves of no reputation like Jesus, they are spending their time making sure everyone knows of their status. Our Christian leaders are stuck on themselves.
Be it the individuals that think they are God’s man of power for the hour in Charismatic circles or the intellectual scholars that parse every jot and tittle of scripture to prove the heresy of others. They all have one thing in common. They all are trying to be the “man of God” who people need to come to, or agree with to be right with God and to obtain favor from God.
The Celebrity Mindset
When leaders who have this disease enter a room, they expect to be recognized. They expect people to pay homage to their spiritual achievement and power. They desire front-row or platform seats and are visibly disturbed when not given the red-carpet treatment they want. They feel they must speak even when not called upon merely because they believe everyone present will live in the dark without their superior knowledge.
These people are above the menial tasks in the church such as cleaning toilets, preparing a meal for the homeless, or picking up trash, or heaven forbid nursery duty! They are above such things.
They even find it beneath their stature to spend time with people who are not at their so-called social or economic status. They avoid the very people that have elevated them to that position. They claim that they no longer have time to spend with average and everyday Christians, yet they seem to have time to spend with debutantes, celebrities, and politicians. Some have bodyguards to protect them from their people. Something is wrong with this picture.
I know I will get a lot of flak from many who have this disease. They will throw scriptures at me to defend their “well-deserved positions.”
To me, it matters not.
Young men and women who desire to enter the ministry are witnessing a warped concept of real ministry. And many outside the church have become repulsed by today’s Christian leaders. What matters is that the antidote is made available. It matters to me that the next generation of Christians is inoculated against this pervasive and destructive disease. I pray they turn away from celebrity pastors and their warped example to this generation.
Self Centered Leaders
The world is watching and waiting for men and women of God who are more concerned about how they appear to Jesus than how they look to the crowd. They are yearning to find leaders who are more interested in helping sinners rather than self-interest. They are fed up with tabloid Christianity, hype, and self-promoting Madison Avenue ad campaigns that promote the great man of God rather than the great God of man.
The church, which includes you and me needs to send this disease back to where it came from the cesspool of hell.
Think about it. Where did self-promotion start? Did it not start when Lucifer got full of himself and decided he needed a promotion?
The next generation of Christian leaders, pastors, evangelists, and teachers need to do more than give lip service to servant leadership. They must replace the model of serve-me leadership with true servant leadership. They must kill the idea that they are God’s man of power for the hour.
However, I am not just talking to the top elite. I am talking to the rank and file members of the church as well. I’m not speaking only of the clergy. If you serve in the church in any way—as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, choir member or children’s worker—then this message should speak volumes to you.
Because this disease does not just affect leaders. It changes the rank and file church members as well. Many have replaced their relationship with God to their relationship with a Christian leader. You expect him to go to God for you and get the blessing you need. You have abdicated your responsibility to train your children, pray for your family, receive healing, and evangelize your neighbors to the “professional.” You have empowered these men to be and live the way that they are living. You said, “that’s the pastor’s job.”
The Cure To God’s Man Of Power For The Hour Disease
What can you do to avoid this disease? Here’s what Jesus had to say on the subject.
The Higher You Rise In Popularity, The More You Must Become A Servant
33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
The thing to note in this passage is that Jesus took the time to bless one little child. This was after He had already performed great miracles. He had already healed the woman with the issue of blood, fed the 5000 and walked on water, yet He took time to bless one little child.
Jesus prescription for this deadly disease is the concept of servant leadership. You can go to any bookstore, Christian or secular, and see all kinds of books about how to rise to the top. How to succeed in 9 easy steps. However, you do not see people teaching that the more you increase in popularity, the more you must become a servant.
A person that wants to do it the way Jesus said must give up self-promotion and become intimate with God. How can you serve the people God loves until you know the God that loves them intimately?
That means going to our prayer closets, or offices, or wherever it is where you can be alone with God, get transparent with Him about your failures and fears and asking Him to draw close to you so that you can know Him in a real and profound way.
If you want to be positioned in the ministry if you’re going to be useful on earth, let me tell you how: Get in a place of intimacy with God. Jesus, in the middle of His glorious, crowd-mesmerizing ministry, maintained intimacy with God. And give up the idea of being one of the celebrity pastors.