Anonymity is disappearing. With the rise of the Millennial generation into adulthood, we have the most viewed and broadcasted group of people in the history of the world. Each moment from infancy to high school graduation was captured with digital photos and videos. They self-broadcast on a muddled myriad of social media platforms. As adults, they know nothing but a public viewing of life’s details from selfies by the pool to Instagramming meals to Snapchat conversations with dozens of people at a time.
The spotlights have grown and remain a dangerous place of all of us… including pastors.
Today’s pastors are susecpetible to a dangerous number of platforms that can stoke the fires of egotism and self-aggrandizement. We must carefully guard the trust to exalt Jesus above ourselves. Pastor, beware.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of social media. It is often just an echo chamber with a few friends. Don’t be fooled into thinking that agreement means you are correct or a Twitter battle won means that God was honored.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of blogging. The very platform upon which I write this article can contribute to the help or the hurt of my own soul. But this has been true of every medium. Attention gained can be for ego or gospel.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of instantaneous broadcast. Email, texting, posting, and blogging all give you the opportunity to blurt in a knee-jerk fashion. Take time to think carefully about your words and the impact of every message you give. It is of no consequence whether it a 240-character tweet, hour-long lecture, or Sunday morning sermon. Tame your tongue for the the sake of gospel witness.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of the Sunday platform. You can enjoy the time on the platform each Sunday as you preach because it strokes your ego or because you have exalted Christ. However, you cannot have both at the same time. The first brings injury to both you and the church while the other will bring healing to sinners. And, be reminded that we are all sinners.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of broadcasting. We can now be everywhere at once. We broadcast sermons in every medium. It seems like everyone has a podcast and vlog. We are ubiquitous. Don’t allow the seemingly omnipresence of your voice and image to displace Jesus’ role as the center point for our ministry.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of conference speaking. Speaking at events, conferences, revivals, camps, and the like is fun but must not be to build your personal platform. Preach, teach, evangelize, and testify because Christ is worthy of all of our words. If you go and speak because you need to be seen and heard, then you have your reward. But it is a sad reward.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of publishing. Writing and publishing books seems to be an easy way to channel a message to a wider audience. But the work is arduous. The process is frustrating. The end is often unsettling. Write because a message is critical for others to better understand and enjoy the work of God.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of the braggart. Bragging on the size of your big church or the faithfulness of your small church is not proper conduct for the servant of Christ. Exalt Jesus while He does the work of building His church.
Pastor, beware the spotlight of network leadership. Serving your denomination, convention, or network can be like staring into the abyss of man’s sinfulness. The power plays and backroom deals hold momentary impact. Serve the wider body of Christ because of a calling that extends God’s kingdom in this dark realm. If the lure is for power, shield your soul with the humility of Jesus.
Pastor, beware the spotlight.
All of the mediums and opportunities described can be used for good or ill. In each, Christ can be exalted or the Golden Calf of self can be worshipped. It is not my intention to call for a moratorium on your participation in any of these. But I will ask you to take an unrelenting evaluation of your own soul… as I am doing one of my own.
Pastor, beware the spotlight shining upon your works, your achievements, and your persona. Point toward the Christ and His great love for we who are sinners.