One of the saddest remarks I’ve ever read about pastors came from what the media said about a mega pastor a few years back, “He almost destroyed his empire.”
The last time I checked, pastors were not called to build empires in their honor. Many American pastors have confused their divine calling with the American dream. They see their pastorate as a way to achieve the American dream–to climb the corporate ladder, to achieve material wealth, to gain celebrity status.
In particular, we have become obssessed with size. Over the years, when pastors discover that I’m a fellow pastor, their leading question has been, “So how big is your church?”
This is sad, given the fact that it has been filtered through the American dream psyche. We have come to judge success on the basis of size. You want to know how successful a pastor is? Just look at the size of his church. This is how we talk. This is our culture.
But Scripture says otherwise. Pastors are not called to compete with each other, seeing who could build the biggest church on the block, who could achieve celebrity status, and so on.
Rather, pastors are called to be under-shepherds of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ himself. They are called to faithfully feed the flock entrusted to their care, not to build empires in their honor.
Perhaps as pastors, we ought to be reflecting on 1 Peter 5:1-5 daily.