In many ways, Pop Star Justin Bieber, 27, summed up what ails the North American Church when he warned against “celebrity pastor worship” in a recent interview with CQ Magazine.
It happens when we look to powerful men and women anointed by God for the latest word or miracle because of their special access to God.
Justin said part of this stems from leaders who put themselves on a pedestal:
“I think so many pastors put themselves on this pedestal, And it’s basically, church can be surrounded around the man, the pastor, the guy, and it’s like, ‘This guy has this ultimate relationship with God that we all want but we can’t get because we’re not this guy.’ That’s not the reality, though. The reality is, every human being has the same access to God.”
Unfortunately, this celebrity worship often leads to disappointment, because fame is a difficult thing to handle. It is so easy for a person to be manipulated by their celebrity status.
And Justin witnessed its failings first hand as he used to attend Hillsong Church that has unfortunately seen several prominent pastors compromised in recent months.
We also brutally witnessed the failure of dozens of ministries this past year after they prophesied that Donald Trump would be reelected as US President.
But it’s not just the celebrity pastors’ fault. We also have to share some blame and I say this as one who has been caught up in this ‘celebrity worship’.
Because the same thing showed up in the early church, where Christians were picking out their favourite ‘celebrity apostles’.
It was so bad that Paul addressed this problem twice in his letter to the Corinthians reminding them that he and Apollos were just human beings like everyone else (see also 1 Corinthians 1:11-12):
4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (1 Corinthians 3:4-5 NIV )
Unfortunately, one of the negative spinoffs of this is that Christians look to the professional clergy to save the world and perform the miracles.
This is not the church that God wants.
God wants an army, not a handful of celebrity pastors.
He wants each one of us involved in the ministry.
It is time to quit looking to others and start doing it yourself.