When it comes to pastors, it seems like people are looking for something a little extra, a Pastor+, a rockstar. Err’body wants to be that “cool” pastor. The one with a slick insta, clever quotes and 🔥 sermon clips.
I used to try so hard to be that guy, but I’m over it. I don’t want to be an entertaining, self promoting, personal brand anymore. My calling is to lay my life down, not lift myself up. I am supposed to serve, protect, and equip others for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). I do not expect people to serve me, protect me, and put me on a pedestal, even in the name of “honor”. Don’t get me wrong, I think honor is important. You should honor your pastor, and your pastor should honor you. But sometimes honor looks more like idolatry, putting a man on a pedestal, clothing him a mysterious veil of Godliness, and delightfully seeking his affirmation & praise. We should prayerfully discern the difference.
Unfortunately, many of the men who “inspired” me in my early years of ministry were all celebrities who have since been released from their pastor jobs. Almost all of the pastors I looked up to back in 2011, 2012, 2013 are now considered cheaters, liars, abusers, drunks, and narcissists. I could name names but too many fan boys would be offended and come after me in the comments.
This year I sat back and began reevaluating things. What is ministry, the purpose of the church, the actual purpose of a pastor? Honestly, part of me was just tired of celebrity culture in the church, the pressure to be cool, the church growth conferences and trainings. I grew tired of church shoppers and hoppers who are looking for the next or the nearest mega church. The false belief that big is better, or the idea that “growth” is the premiere sign of health.
Anyway, as I was saying…Pastors aren’t supposed to be cool. We are not supposed to be “fashionistas” or even “visionaries.” We are ALL called to decrease, so that Jesus can increase (John 3:30). HIS name should be popular, not mine.
Someone on FB in a pastor support group recently asked “which preacher/pastor has influenced your ministry the most?” Everyone threw celebrity names in the pot, but I threw in names like Mark Whitfield, Bill Rose Sr, Cutty Peacock. Nobody knows their names, but they are the ones who truly influenced and formed me. I might have lusted after some celebrity pastors in my twenties, but these were the faceless, nameless pastors who were on the phone with me at midnight, or meeting me for coffee randomly to discuss my marriage issues, and helping me make important life decisions.
The church doesn’t need more rich celebrity pastors who get likes and clicks and retweets because of their shoes. Instead, we need more underdogs who dive on the ball and come up bruised, but make the play anyway. We need more transparency, more brokenness, more humans in ministry who are simply doing the work of feeding, leading & protecting the “flock” God has given them.
We need faceless, nameless, pastors who will never get the adoration of the world because their desire is for Jesus to have all of the glory. I want to be that guy. The guy who teaches other guys how to read and understand the Bible. I want to be the guy who takes random midnight phone calls, teaches the importance of sexual purity, and spends time talking with younger dudes about Jesus instead of clothes, brands, or other celebrity church stuff.
Pastors, we don’t need to look awesome, we don’t need to be cool. We just need to be Pastors.