Why Aren’t Big Name Christian Leaders Decreasing?

kinnon —  November 2, 2010 — 12 Comments

John the Baptizer, said this about Jesus in light of John's own "ministry",

He must become greater; I must become less. [John 3:30 NIV]

What would it be like if the cycle of ministry was for those who rise in prominence to disappear into the worshipping body as Jesus is exalted? Decreasing while Jesus increases.

Rather than building ever increasing platforms capable of supporting their egos ministries.

I'm just asking.

kinnon

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

12 responses to Why Aren’t Big Name Christian Leaders Decreasing?

  1. The story of the transfiguration comes to mind – John and Peter are there as they see Jesus transformed and their first thought is to build a monument. Not to mention all the fights to see who gets to sit at the right hand. It’s human nature. The key is that we as consumers don’t have to buy into it. Don’t buy the product but instead engage with the stories that speak to your heart. That’s the only way decent books will win out.

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  2. Could it be that we don’t want to “decrease” by having the top 10-12″ taken off like John did?

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  3. The problem with decreasing is that you don’t sell as many books or get invited to speak at as many conferences. 🙂

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  4. John the Baptist didn’t disappear into the worshipping community. He had his head cut off. Now that’s decrease!! Of course, if that is what you are recommending, I am willing to follow your lead.

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  5. I’ll take a stab at a Rene Girard-esque answer:

    Despite many good intentions, the big-name leaders are unable to resist the pull of mimetic rivalry amongst each other. Instead of imitating Christ, they are imitating their peers. This provides a strong pull for them to escalate the size and visibility of their “ministries” (books, conferences, TV, etc.) The models they are emulating are other seemingly successful leaders.

    I think this is more likely the driving force behind their “increasing” rather than an isolated case of a truely huge ego or lust for power in general.

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  6. Bill, you and I are thinking along the same lines these days:

    link to intothedesertblog.blogspot.com

    I love that John the Baptizer, in six or eight words, explains what it is to follow after Jesus.

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  7. WenatcheeTheHatchet November 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    If decrease means having to declare bankruptcy then at least one high profile megachurch pastor has experienced a decrease.

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  8. I think it’s two pronged: one aspect coming from us Christians and secondly, and one aspect from the world.

    We Christians, especially American Christians, tend to hero worship, whether we like it to admit it or not. So when a pastor consistently gets something right, we the audience applaud all the louder.

    The world, or at least in the Western world, sees the preaching of the gospel so rarely that when it is loudly proclaimed, and they hear it, they focus in on it, hoping for a chance to discredit the message by discrediting the messenger. And as some pastors are a bit more wise to that attention, they use that to preach the gospel, feeding both points.

    Those are my two cents.

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  9. Because they have slogans like this:

    A nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.

    But have pictures like this.

    Not quite a picture that says “I’m a nobody”. IMO, of course. FWIW. YMMV.

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  10. Now that's a cute picture. Yikes!

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  11. I spent a couple of days listening to Mark this week in Belfast. I think we need to be careful about judging the motives of these people. There is a difference between a self-promoter and someone whom God has chosen to entrust with a big platform.

    Read Mark 9:39.

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  12. You raise a good point – Christianity should eschew the celebrity culture rather than apeing it.
    I am also (facetiously) reminded of the American Christian Slimmers’ club who took as their motto “he must increase and I must decrease” – I kid you not!

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What do you think?