The Egocentric Pastor

[Quick break from my Launch Conference notes...]

Pastors are prone to letting their ego get the best of them. Maybe I shouldn't generalize. Maybe I should say, "I am prone to letting my ego get the best of me." (Hence my picture with this post...)

But I do think that what is true of me is also true of many other pastors. I mean, who doesn't love to hear someone say, "Oh, pastor, that sermon was awesome!"

I love to hear that! I mean I love to hear that!!

Someone said that to me this weekend (I'm letting you know because it boosts my ego...) and it made me think to myself, "Markus... You da man!!!" And then I thought to myself, "Gosh... God sure is lucky to have a servant like me!"

Bad Markus.

So here's why I'm thinking about this. I followed some links on another blog that led me to the website of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. Now, I don't the know the pastor of this church personally, so please don't hear what I'm about to say as a personal attack. I'm sure that Ed Young loves Jesus and wants nothing more than to see people come to know Him and have their lives and the world transformed by the power of Jesus in people's lives.

But as I explored their website, this is what rubbed me the wrong way:
  1. One of the main menu headings was titled, "About Ed Young." The subheadings are "Bio," "Conferences," "Resources," and "Television." (Did you notice all the pictures if you clicked those links?) What bugs me is that a church should never be about the pastor. The church should be about the people. Sure, you can have a short bio somewhere on the staff page, but...put it on the staff page! Put it with all the other staff members who share equally in the church's ministry, even if they're not up in front of the congregation each week.
  2. Last night they had a promo video for the new sermon series (it's not there anymore). They don't tell you what the sermon series is called, they've just got a big smiley face. It's probably about joy or happiness or something. The video was excellent. I mean the quality of the video was like something you'd see on broadcast TV. But it was just sort of over-the-top. It involved Ed Young interacting with a giant smiley face. Again, just way too much focus on the pastor.
  3. I followed some links to Ed Young Ministries. I know that there are a lot of ministries out there named for the person who started them--but I just think there's something wrong with that (even Charles E. Fuller didn't want Fuller Seminary named after himself, so the board named the school after his father, Charles H. Fuller). I could probably see Paul in the New Testament starting a ministry organization--it just strikes me as something he might do if it meant he could reach more people with the Gospel. But I can't see him calling it "Apostle Paul Ministries." If anything, I think he'd probably call it something like "Worst of Sinners Ministries."
Here's the thing. I love big churches! I love the energy of a big church. I love the resources for ministry at a big church. I love the fact that big churches are usually big because they're reaching people who don't know Christ. My happiest and most exciting time in ministry was when I was on staff at a big church.

But I also think it can be dangerous for pastors of big churches. I think they can start believing that they're more special to God than other people.

And I have to be honest. I really hope that wherever God leads me next--if it's not already a big church--I hope that I can be a part of helping it become a big church. I hope that people who didn't know Jesus become followers of Jesus and grow into faithful disciples of Jesus. And I hope that they begin to reach their friends and bring them to church where they, too, will encounter Christ.

But I hope and pray the God keeps me humble. And maybe... maybe that means that our church will never become a "megachurch." Maybe I'll never get a book published. Maybe I'll never be interviewed on some widely-read blog.

Maybe I'll just be Markus the Pastor. And maybe that's ok...


Kyle said...

I once accompanied a friend to his parents' church in Louisville. It's a megachurch, but has come this by Wal-Marting smaller local churches. After the membership of the smaller churches dwindle and they can no longer afford to maintain their small facility and a full-time minister, they offer to buy out the church as a franchise.

I am not making this up. Anyway, that Sunday the Sr. Pastor (haha, that makes me think sister pastor, come to think of it) was gone, so he left behind (hehe) a video of himself greeting the congregation. Just a bit egocentric? I thought so. It's all about you, pastor Bob. They came to see you, to love you, and to be loved by you, to rejoice in your love. Sick, sick, sick.

Anyway, good luck with that.

Markus Watson said...

Wow... I've actually never heard of a church doing that. There's just something wrong with that.

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