This is of course simplifying things way too much, but there are some folks in evangelicalism today who seem to imply that faithfulness will produce numbers, and others who seem to imply that numbers means you must be doing something suspicious. Related to the latter is a bemoaning of “celebrity pastors” in Reformed circles.
In response, Kevin DeYoung has produced a helpful outline to help us think through this issue with grace and wisdom:
- Celebrity is not a terribly helpful word.
- Popularity is, to use Jonathan Edwards phrase, a non-sign.
- Factionalism is a danger, but factionalism is not the same as having a following.
- The human heart is desperately sick; who can understand it?
- Men follow men.
- Give glory to God for his gifts wherever you find them.
- Shame people only for what you are certain is truly shameful.
You can read each point explained here.
See also John Piper’s post,”Hero Worship and Holy Emulation.”