A Word to Famous Pastors

The church is both blessed and cursed by its well-known pastors.

You have been given a public platform. You occupy the stage of various conferences. You help lead national and perhaps international ministries. People listen to you when you speak and write. Those men who pastor 100 souls will be responsible for much. Some of you serve churches of multiplied thousands. You will give an account for those men and women. But there’s more. Because of your influence you will give account for the many who have downloaded your sermons and purchased your books. Are you ready to answer for the influence you have in the lives of men and women you will never meet?

 

The church is both blessed and cursed by its well-known pastors. Some like T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer and Brian McLaren have distorted the gospel and done great damage to the church. Others however have blessed the church by contending faithfully for the truth and advancing the gospel of Jesus. Some famous pastors have had an important ministry of equipping other pastors well. It is to this group of faithful men that I write these words.

1. I am thankful for you. 
I have been on the receiving end of great blessings from well-known preachers and pastors. I continue to benefit from the books and teaching of men whose names we all know. May God bless you and protect you. May He guard you from the entrapments of celebrity and the temptations of wealth and ego.

2. What you do, write, and preach reverberates through the rest of our churches. 
Americans are preoccupied with celebrity. That fascination has translated into the church. We have even seen the sad pitfalls of modern celebrity damage the witness of Reformed(ish) Christianity.

Famous pastor, your actions and words (written and preached) have ripple effects which reach into the churches whose pastors do not carry your clout. It’s not because they are less gifted or less faithful. It’s because the famous man’s words carry more weight, even in our churches. So when you mess up and preach things that fail to square with God’s Word or you appear alongside false teachers it leaves the rest of us to deal with it in our own churches. These are people we love and pray for and visit in the hospital. You don’t know them. You’ll never meet them. But they listen to your teaching and read your books. Because they never see your own faults they tend to place you on a pedestal. And lest you quickly dismiss that reality as their problem, remember that you are called to a higher responsibility than a famous athlete.

3. Your level of accountability corresponds to the level of your influence.
You have been given a public platform. You occupy the stage of various conferences. You help lead national and perhaps international ministries. People listen to you when you speak and write. Those men who pastor 100 souls will be responsible for much. Some of you serve churches of multiplied thousands. You will give an account for those men and women. But there’s more. Because of your influence you will give account for the many who have downloaded your sermons and purchased your books. Are you ready to answer for the influence you have in the lives of men and women you will never meet? Are you ready to answer for the men and women in my church who read your books and listen to your sermons?

4. Please exercise great discernment in accepting speaking engagements and partnerships. 

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