Why I Will Not Become the Typical Pastor

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This is a post for my friends in ministry. It is written to help the Church move forward.

Whenever I see most popular pastors today, I have this feeling that in order to do something successful, I must become like them. I need to be edgy like Rob Bell, I need to to smile a lot like Joel Osteen, I need to be purpose-driven like Rick Warren, etc. We see these popular preachers and we think, “That is who I need to become if I want to be successful.” Or maybe that is just me. Perhaps I am the only one who thinks that in order to do something beneficial for the Kingdom, I must become like ______________ (fill in the blank).

There are a few issues I see with this thought pattern. First off, size does not matter. I know that many times I struggle with how much of an impact one can make unless it is to thousands of people. I find this absurd. Think about the most influential people in your life. Who are they? Mega-church pastors? Or are they regular people who have taken time to pour into you? My guess is, that a majority of you will say the latter.

Secondly, and I think more importantly, stop trying to become like someone else. This is the most frustrating thing to me. We want to become clones of these preachers that we see. Even excluding the famous preachers, many of us think that in order to be the leader in the church, we must have certain characteristics that are exemplified in the current leaders of the church. You do not have to become like them in order to be a leader in the church. In fact, it is probably best that you do not become like them.

As I’m watching this election season roll around, the thing that most Republicans are saying is that they are looking for the next “Reagan.” They are obsessed with it. However, I found it amusing when Reagan’s son said to stop trying to find Reagan and become yourself. The same is true for those in ministry.

Things you don’t have to do to be a preacher:
1.) Get cool glasses.
2.) Have some catch-phrase that is always said at the end of service.
3.) Wear True Religion jeans and Affliction t-shirts.
4.) Spend several hours a week trying to do something cool that other churches will want to try and do.
5.) Write a best-selling book.
6.) Launch a satellite campus.
7.) Have a faux-hawk.
8.) Preach from an iPad (although, this one is encouraged).
9.) Sacrifice Scripture to gain numbers.
10.) Create new words to describe what you are trying to do at your church.

This is not intended to be against the mega-church. I like some of the things that they do. However, this is meant to say: Don’t look to the preachers today to see if you can become a leader in the church. The church is changing rapidly. Roles will not look the same in 20 years. Instead, become what is not yet seen. And the only way you can do that is by not comparing yourself to others and instead keep on harmonizing your passions with your calling. Create a new form of leadership that you can one day write a book about and several churches will ask you to come and speak (that’s sarcasm…somewhat). Become yourself. Not the typical pastor that you see today.

And I say all this in support of us who are young in ministry. Becoming the pastor that you see today will not move the church forward. So continue to create something new. In creating something new, you will find that you are making an invaluable contribution to the Kingdom.

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