This is the kind of thing that irks about the whole pastor thing, that kind of superstar status that they get in their own small worlds.
Actually I would like to suggest we've always had it, after all Jesus Christ as Andrew Lloyd Webber so kindly puts it was a superstar. Probably from Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Lloyd George etc there has arisen the aura of the spiritually gifted person. We do need leaders of a generation and the men I've mentioned are all significant leaders and pioneers who progressed the faith onwards, but there weren't many of them!!
You don't have to look far today to see that most major streams and denominations have them most churches even have their little superstars, you know the sort of person I mean: mighty anointed platform men and women with a deep aura of spirituality hanging over their lives.
Thankfully I have had the chance to meet and get to know a few of these men and women most of them are not that spiritual and don't think of themselves as superstars. Of course you will always find the occasional church leader who is a little self important, and appears to demand more respect than your average person but they really are occasional. Most great leaders have huge quantities of humility which is one of the reasons why God blesses them so much.
The idea of spiritual superstars has not been created by the Spiritual Superstar but by us and our pandering to the culture that we live in. We are surrounded by stars on TV, Video, Sport, Cinema, the Internet, Newspapers, we are sold a constant diet of the great and the good. Celebrity is the in thing and it's growth this century has been phenomenal.
It's no wonder we quickly canonise and idolise people in church because most of them are good, but I just can't help feeling a little bit uncomfortable with some of the monsters we create.
I once heard a guy say He would die if I could not preach, this is wrong. Preachers are gifted men and we need them but many would accomplish much more if they carried the ethos of "I would die if I couldn't disciple someone" and don't dare try and tell me that when you preach you are discipling loads at once that can't be true, you are inspiring, challenging, motivating and teaching but discipleship is all about relationships and relationships are not conducted with a 100 people from three feet above them, but day to day on the ground living life together.
Another reason we give the Spiritual Superstar their status is because they have pioneered and done something big. As we have already said our culture says big is beautiful and we exalt the gifted leader because God has anointed them and shown favour to them and more often than not they have seen large numbers
Jesus would never have been viewed as the Spiritual Superstar, I can hear it now "yeah he's done a few big events but he seems to have lost his way he's really only got 12 totally committed people, I'll go find another larger ministry."
Now I am not anti growth nor am I speaking from numerical poverty, I am just trying to say we need to stop glorifying man and exalting him because he has got loads of people. This only enhances people feelings of insignificance because they feel that they are only really "cutting it" if they have great attendance at their church or pull sizeable crowds at large events.
In Luke chapter 1, Gabriel (a messenger who stood in the presence of God) told Mary she was highly significant "greetings you who are highly favoured" yet all she did was carry one little baby into the world. This 15 year old unmarried pregnant virgin would not have made the main platform in any of our churches or events. Yet God chose her to carry Christ into the world. Now we are all called to carry Christ into the world every single one of us.
So we need to move away from the concept of the Spiritual Superstar who is an all singing, all dancing, put a broom up my bottom and I'll sweep the floor at the same time kind of person, to the realisation that we are a collective body of individuals who are all significant in the eyes of God and that through the process of discipleship together we can do so much more than one gifted individual.
My fear is if we continue down this road and this concept of Spiritual Superstar grows we will never see this generation empowered and doing it for themselves. In some settings we are in danger of creating a culture that is so slick and professional we cease to give people the feeling that they can do it.
I understand the idea of "striving for excellence" but I think it is a dangerous one. I want a generation who will try, I don't care if it's not the excellent, we want a generation who will at least be willing to give it a shot, if they fail so what! if it's not excellent so what! we want to raise up a generation who will give it a go!
I guess you could hardly call the early church slick, they were not Spiritual Superstars who operated with an air of professionalism. The most important thing for them was that they had God in power, not a video wall, shirt, tie over head, hermenutically annotated sermon in sight. What they did was raw but God was in it.
Just following up on my little pastor rant from the other day