There is a great line in the movie Anchorman, when Ron Burgundy introduces himself and says, “I’m kind of a big deal. People know me.” This thinking sums up the thinking of many pastors, but not always the ones you think.
Many people bemoan the rise of mega-churches and talk about the “celebrity pastor” that has come because of it. It may be true true that some pastors of larger churches have created a pastor-centralized way of doing church. They strive to be celebrities.
But I’ve also met pastors of really large churches who are incredibly humble and seek to serve those around them. Large churches do not equal celebrity pastors just like small churches do not mean the pastors are not celebrities.
Now, in a small church, celebrity can be harder to see. But it is there.
You see this when…
- A pastor has to be at everything. Something isn’t important if he isn’t there or if he doesn’t announce it from the stage.
- Everyone needs to talk to the pastor or be counseled by the pastor. Talking to another elder or leader is seen as getting passed down the line.
- People skip church if the pastor isn’t preaching.
This problem can be deceptive because most pastors become pastors to help people. They care deeply for people, the hurts they experience and want to help them find life in Jesus. Underneath this desire for many pastors is a need to be needed. This fuels and drives many pastors to work themselves into a position where they feel they are always needed.
Here are a few ways to know this might be you:
- You can’t turn your phone off at night.
- You worry what people say about you, your sermon, or your church on Facebook. You also feel the need to comment on everything or want to know how many likes your last status update got.
- You have to be at every meeting, part of every decision that is made.
- You don’t take time off from preaching. When you go on vacation, you’re afraid someone may like the guest speaker’s sermon more than yours.
- When counseling or talking to someone, you do not challenge their sin for fear you will hurt their feelings.
- You are the bottleneck for all decisions; they must run through your office. By doing this, you say that you are keeping everyone on the same page, but really it is because you don’t trust that the culture and DNA of your church has spread, which says more about your leadership than your followers.
Pastors are needed by their people. God designed it this way and it is a good thing.
God also designed you as a pastor to find your approval and need to be needed in Jesus. You can’t fix everything. So recognize your limitations, focus your people’s attention on Jesus, and empower others to make decisions and be leaders.