Within recent years, the term “Celebrity Pastor” has become commonly used. Typically it refers to a pastor who has a large church or ministry, speaking schedule, and has probably authored a book or two. Because so, other pastors, followers, and folks in ministry desire to honor them, learn from them, follow them, and encourage them. We all want to be successful, and benefiting from the success of others in various ways is usually a noble pursuit.
Also, within recent years, there is a growing culture of people who have become highly critical of celebrity pastors in general. Some have even used their platforms (usually blogs, radio, and websites) to focus their ministry on the criticism of other ministries, and usually it has do with a celebrity pastor. Sadly, one of the things I have noticed is much of the criticism is based on heresay, speculation, personal opinion, and denominational differences. Rarely does it originate from real, credible, and firsthand personal experience.
During a season several years ago, I joined in the frenzy of critical Christians who seemed to have a spiritual gift in bashing celebrity pastors and their ministries, particularly those of the contemporary flavor. All you need to do is go blog hunting and you too can easily get caught up in it. Gratefully, I have grown up and moved on from that herd.
So the question becomes, is their something intrinsically wrong or flawed with becoming a celebrity pastor? Are all celebrity pastors alike? Are they all arrogant, unapproachable, self serving, bible twisting, snobby people as some portray them? In my humble opinion? Absolutely not! In fact, every “Celebrity Pastor” that I have developed a personal relationship and have first hand experience with, have what I see as a deep passion for Jesus and seeing His Kingdom built. I think it’s very unfortunate when pastors of any flavor get criticized or have judgments made about them from those who have never truly walked in their shoes nor closely walked with them in their ministry. Many have a very limited perspective on what it truly entails being a Lead Pastor. Until you are completely in that role, you can never fully understand nor appreciate.
Are there people who idolize celebrity pastors? Yes, unfortunately. Does that mean the celebrity pastor desires that? No. In my humble opinion, as we first and foremost follow Jesus, we do well to come under a spiritual leader giving them honor, loyalty, and our best followship. While Paul was following Jesus and leading others to do the same, He also said, “imitate me.”
Don’t assume that every celebrity pastor’s heart has gone hollywood. In fact, it’s typically furthest from the truth. Rather, pray for these leaders and give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are, if you were in their shoes, you would want the same and be frustrated when you didn’t get it.
Do celebrity pastors smell? Yes. Does their poop stink? Of course (though in this I have no firsthand experience).
So let’s look for the best in what God is doing in and through them as they pursue their calling. Let’s stop focusing on what we don’t like or agree about how another pastor or leader is fulfilling their calling, and focus on doing our best to follow ours. God is not going to hold us accountable for what they do, but He will want to see a return on what He has given us.
Let’s move away from the Great Criticism and get back to the Great Commission.