The struggle for power and influence is certainly in the church. There are many on-ramps for ministers to gain influence (like the internet, social media, etc.). I’ve observed fellow seminarians who are primarily ambitious about one thing.
What is this one thing? As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, many in ministry prep settings, and those already serving as vocational ministers, are driven by fame.
Reality is, a fractional number of men in Bible colleges and seminaries will ever be the face of a large ministry, so why are so many young men driven to achieve this level of popularity?
Before I unpack this thought, let me clarify. There is nothing wrong with God-given influence. We can look at the life of Billy Graham and undeniably see the sovereignty of God in Billy’s vocational appointment on this earth. The problem is when ministers become driven to achieve popular status instead of choosing faithfulness.
So, you might want to be a famous minister if…
- People are a means to an end for you. This is so easy to spot. Constant forgetting of names, superior spiritual language discussing “when I traveled here” and when I was talking with [insert other famous Christian] are all indicators that people are nothing more than status symbols to you.
- You’re enamored by people who are famous. There’s nothing wrong with having role models, but if you really really want to be popular, you’re probably secretly jealous of those guys speaking at large conferences and conventions. If they release a how-to book for ministry, you’ll eat it up because it might contain the secret formula to your big break.
- You see one-on-one ministry as less significant than mass ministry. If sharing a meal with a church member is less of a priority to you than your limelight moment on stage, something is off. Christ made both ministries equal, and many of His most powerful moments were between Him and one other person (ex: John 4, the women at the well).
- You use social media like other famous Christians (without their platform). For some reason there is this new trend of young ministers using their social medias as if they have thousands of people paying attention. It’s impersonal (as if the internet were ever “personable”).
- You want people’s affirmation, not their transformation. Plain and simple, do you desire that people see Jesus in you (which means you’ll get a lot less attention), or do you secretly want them to constantly praise you for your efforts? Does the sermon need to be effective because people are spiritually starved or because your reputation needs some boosting? Just food for thought…
My prayer is that more and more young guys will start to see ministry as the emptying of ourselves instead of the filling of our egos. As always, we must check our pride to make sure Christ is the end goal of His ministry through us.