I am a little late in commenting on the church growth movement. Now it seems that all those who initiated the movement can be called celebrity pastors. They love the limelight, being called to appear on the national morning news programs, talk shows and other daytime nonsense TV to answer the big questions of doctrine and theology. You know, questions like what do I need to do to have my best life now, what steps do I need to take to find my purpose and how deep inside my mind I need to delve so I can commune with God. They laugh the easy laugh, joke with the host who probably doesn’t really care about religion. It is all so wonderful.
Sadly, most believe that these megachurch celebrity pastors represent all of the evangelical church. They have the go-to mouthpieces for the soundbite. Rick Warren even put a committee together for the purpose of media relations, and how to get more spots on national TV. They really don’t say anything controversial or that remotely does what the gospel does, which is make people uncomfortable with the sin they are bearing. It makes me wonder if the allure of the TV hot lights is too much to shy away from, to be on camera saying nothing relevant to the gospel or the Lord God who saved them.
I have listened to some of their sermons and I come away empty. I am not challenged or convicted or forced to examine my motives for anything I do. I am told that God loves me just as I am and that He wants the best for me and that I can be rich just using my faith to unlock the wealth held in store just for me. I don’t have to change anything about my life. I can exercise my faith and believe God for the miracles that are going to come my way. I feel even more empty that I did before. I just listened to a 45 minute pep talk and I can’t get those minutes back.
The Jesus I read about in the gospels is straightforward and did not mask or pad the truth. He told the disciples that they would face hardship and persecution because of His Name. He never told them that they would travel in gold chariots drawn by four pure white horses that pulled up to their cobbled driveway that pulls them up to their marble and pearl palace. They were largely destitute, traveled mostly on foot, were beaten, flogged, persecuted, jailed and killed because they refuse to deny the gospel and the Lord who saved them.
I wonder how Joel Osteen or Rick Warren or whatever megachurch pastor you want to name would react if they had heard that King Herod wanted to see them so that they would perform miracles for King Herod’s entertainment pleasure. Would they be in the next chariot that brought them to Herod’s palace?
Are we that pathetic or desperate to be accepted by the mainstream that we are willing to sell-out the gospel and our Lord for fifteen minutes of fame? Is the sweat generated by the spotlight more precious that the blood spilled on the cross?
I am certain I don’t want spineless megachurch pastors speaking on my behalf.