Following a Star Rather than the Son

Tuesday is for Preaching

In the Spring of 1994, an article appeared in Leadership Magazine titled, “The Celebrity-Pastor Syndrome.” Reading it now is like reading a piece of prophecy. Author Bob Shank talks about the tendency in larger churches to create a climate where people “follow the star and not the Son.

Some of you who are reading this have the skills, personality, and personal work ethic to become “the man”—the one whom people follow as a substitute for following Jesus as closely as they ought. They will put a good spiritual spin on it, you might too, but the reality is that they are more committed to you than they are to the church, to the congregation or to the mission Jesus has given to the church to reach the community.

[More later. I am off to see Voyage of the Dawn-Treader with my daughter]

Back. The movie was good, time to be with my daughter was even better.

Above was posted on Facebook, but I brought it over here because Rob Taylor and John Nunnickhoven got a good discussion going. I was going to write more but instead, I have copied their comments into the comment thread.

2 thoughts on “Following a Star Rather than the Son

  1. The Celebrity-Pastor phenomenon is just one of the many tips of the iceberg named Uber-Pastoring. It is a style of Pastoring that draws heavily from the work of Fredrick Taylor and The Organization Man, with an emphasis on systems, programs and committee. It totally misses the relational pastoring and shepherding that Jesus used with his disciples and that we are to use in bringing up disciples today.

    Other signs of the Uber-Pastor are references to “Sam Brown” Church,” the ABC measures of church health, constantly addressing the pastor as if Pastor were a title not a calling, i.e. Pastor Sam Brown rather than Sam Brown, pastor and so forth.


  2. All the comments below I brought over from the Facebook thread on this post.

    Rob Taylor said:
    Hey Marty, I love you for your boldness. I have a question. Some Pastors tell their congregation that they are their “Spiritual Father” and that they should follow their direction without question. What are your thoughts on A. The validity of the term “Spiritual Father” B. The Pastor’s position that they should not be questioned.
    5 hours ago · Like

    John Nunnikhoven said:
    Ref B: The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11).
    2 hours ago · Like

    Marty Schoenleber Jr said:
    Rob, John’s answer is a little cryptic but spot on. I see nothing in the Scripture about spiritual fathers. We are all brothers (as the Acts 17 passage demonstrates). A brother that exalts himself above other similarly blood-purchased brothers is going beyond the Scripture — almost always a dangerous land to travel in. Pastors should always be held accountable to the Scripture.
    about an hour ago ·

    John Nunnikhoven said:
    OK, I’ll uncrypt a bit. If the Bereans had the nerve to question the Apostle Paul and check his teachings against the Scriptures, and Luke did approvingly call them noble, I cannot imagine anyone of the present day and age with the hubris to demand that their congregation not question them.
    9 minutes ago · Like

    Marty Schoenleber Jr said:
    Love you John! Great comment.


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