Ed Stetzer made some great observations on a guest post on challies.com. He talks about the “rock star pastor,” with “rock star” being used as a general term, perhaps synonymous with celebrity, not necessarily flashy, axe-wielding musician. In sum (whole post here):
4 problems with the rock star pastor:
1. Personal Imbalance
2. Hindering Community
3. Approval Addiction
4. Selling Out the Church’s Future
4 ways to counteract the rock star pastor in us:
1. Focus on Equipping
2. Take a Sabbath
3. Adjust with the Economic Times
4. Preach the Glory of God
These are wise words. I’ll be honest here, too, and perhaps I am representing the struggle that other folks like me have. The reason I blog and the reason I write and promote my music is because I have a burden, particularly in the area of the church’s worship, to see reformation and renewal. I want the camps of traditional worship and contemporary/modern worship to continue to grow in their ability to speak into one another. I want to see more modern-worshiping churches embrace hymnody, historical-rootedness, theology, and biblical thoughtfulness in ways that hopefully don’t compromise what they prize about heir liturgy structure or stylistic expression. Over a year ago, I realized that to accomplish this, I needed to jump on the scene and dive into the “market.” If I desired to effectively communicate in this environment, I would need to do some “self-promotion,” so that others would read and think about what I had to say (or sing).
This is dangerous, because it feeds into Stetzer’s rock star pastor idea. It is so hard to remain pure in motives, not letting self-glamorization, self-inflation, and entitlement creep in. The environment just drags you there. The strategies employed almost force you there.
I wouldn’t say I’ve made peace with it. Perhaps the better metaphor is truce. In truce, you’re acknowledging that you are not so at odds that you must fight. But, unlike peace, you are still unsettled about your enemy’s integrity…will he keep the truce? I’ve determined for myself that I want to always feel this tension, because it will be a powerful way (amidst the self-aggrandizing vortex of the communicative medium) to keep my heart in check. Unlike other cultural exegetes, I don’t believe the medium and methodology is totally bankrupt. However, you can slide into letting it bankrupt you.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)