Thinking about my previous post called “Is the Church Top Heavy?“, I ran across this article by Ed Stetzer called “The Problem with Pastor as Rock Star.” Stetzer sees the same problem with too much emphasis on leadership (maybe) and especially on one man (the “Pastor”).
He says “rock star” pastors lead to problems in personal imbalance, hindering community, approval addiction, and selling out the church’s future. This is what he says about the problem of rockstar pastors “hindering community”:
If the church life revolves around one person’s speaking gift, it is incredible difficult to move to community. A community “won” to a single voice is not won to community, but to spectatorship. Thus, when pastors say, “it’s all about the weekend,” they tend to create an audience rather than a biblically functioning church community. This is still true if your church is an oft-criticized seeker megachurch or a your verse-by-verse preaching point. Either way, if you get thousands sitting in rows but can’t move them to sitting in circles, true community is hard to find.
As a guy who travels around speaking, I understand how quickly it can happen. For the last few weeks, I’ve spoken at a church close to my own house while the pastor is on a short sabbatical. But even in delivering biblical messages, I’m not engaging in biblical community with those people. It takes more than a stage to create a community. The temptation must be fought that a mass of people gathered to hear one person speak is equal to biblical community.
A gifted communicator can draw a crowd, but biblical community will sustain a congregation. A great orator is fun to have at worship, but cannot build community during the other six days and 23 hours of the week. Great preaching will be used by God to bring others to faith and sanctify God’s people, but it will also encourage the body to do life together on mission.
I’m not saying that every person in the community should have immediate access to the pastor. But I am saying that every pastor should be in some accountable biblical community.
I agree with Stetzer that this is a problem. I disagree with his solution, which seems to be for the pastor to be a little less of a rockstar.
What do you think the solution is? How would a church move from emphasizing leadership to emphasizing community?