Oct 03, 2019 08:00am
Ministry and the Celebrity Culture

Everyone likes a pat on the back or for someone to say, “Great Job!”  The reality is that pride is always lurking in the shadows. We can easily be driven way too much by the praise and applause of others. 

Philippians 3:8 says, “ . . .  I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

As we develop our intimacy with Christ we become less dependent upon the need for man’s applause. When our identity is in Christ then we will no longer be dependent upon our accomplishments or the accolades of others. 

Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Be careful, you can even get proud that you are not like everybody else!

America has a virus; “Celebrity-itis.”  We have deified athletes, actors, musicians, and even some pastors. Because we are such an individualistic society we have developed a celebrity culture that idolizes certain individuals. 

In Multiplying Missional Leaders, Mike Breen puts it this way, “Now, there is nothing dark or sinister about celebrity in and of itself.  You can’t make the argument that says Jesus wasn’t a huge celebrity in His day. However, the problem with celebrity comes when we ignore the difference between being famous and being significant.” 

Pride, arrogance, and a lack of humility can slip up on anyone. Man’s nature is prone to take credit for the things that we should not take credit for. The virus of celebrity can easily infect anyone and can only be contained with a humble spirit. James is very clear that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Here is what several leaders have said about the desire to be a celebrity:

  • “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” —Jesus
  • “He must increase, but I must decrease.” —John the Baptist
  • “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” —Paul
  • “Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.” —Andrew Murray
  • “If pastors become ‘rock stars’ or ‘celebrities’ today we shouldn’t be surprised to see them in rehab tomorrow.”  —Lukas Naugle
  • “God sends no one away except those who are full of themselves.” —D.L. Moody
  • “Humility is not just declaring that you are not God.  It is daily dying to your desire to be God.” —Darrin Patrick
  • “When God measures a man he puts the tape around the heart, not the head.” —Howard Hendricks
  • “Too many of us are simply climbing ladders that don’t matter.” —Shawn Lovejoy

Here is part of a blog by Rick Warren on this subject: 

“Even writing a blog post on this almost guarantees comments about pots and kettles. And I get that. I’m as human as you are. And if we are all honest with ourselves, we would admit that it is a struggle for each of us in some way. However, sometimes to personally admit to our own arrogance, we need prodding.  

 “Why?  Because we often become blind to our own faults.  The reason it is so dangerous, especially for those of us in ministry positions, is that it can become a cancer to our ministry. I could, and I guess you could as well, name dozens of pastors whose arrogance and pride led them to a very public, very shameful fall.  

“Arrogance stifles mission. It redirects the focus of our ministry to us instead of to a kingdom focus. And if left unchecked, our ministry will begin to exist for its purpose, not God’s purposes.”

Copyright © 2019 by Larry Barker @ Used with permission. 
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