Pastors, Seek to Be Faithful… Not Famous

Too many pastors get sidetracked trying to become famous.

They want to be the next big conference speaker.

They want to have the next big mega church.

They want to be just like their pastor idols. Their focus is all wrong.

Small Church in Silver City Idaho

Photo Credit: Charles Knowles cc

Instead of trying to be famous, we need to be faithful.

When I first got started in ministry I was attending a small church. I felt God calling me to do ministry, so I followed.

I didn’t know exactly where or what I would do, but I knew I couldn’t do anything with my life other than follow Jesus and try to reach people for Him.

Like most young men entering the ministry, I was idealistic. My thinking was, “if I reach just one person for Christ it will all be worth it.”

I was in for a huge surprise when I got my first real job in a church. Reaching one person wasn’t enough. I had to reach more.

I had to play the numbers game if I wanted to keep my job. It soon became all about attendance and how many people I could get in a room.

So I started watching conferences, reading everything I could find, and listening to famous pastors preach for the first time. Soon, I was intoxicated by these big name pastors.

I wanted to preach like them. I wanted a church like them. I wanted an amazing story like they had. I had famous pastor envy.

Rather than being faithful with where God had called me and thankful for the growth I was seeing, I was unsatisfied because my ministry wasn’t as big as others. I got discouraged.

I have worked in small churches and I have worked in mega churches. I thought working in bigger churches would change things. But it didn’t.

No matter how many people you pack in a room, when you compare yourself to other large ministries you will always feel behind.

My wake up call came while reading 2 Timothy 4:2-5.

“2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (NIV)

The call to preach is not a call to be famous. The call to preach is a call to be faithful.

If God grants you fame and influence in your ministry, great. If He doesn’t, that’s great too!

Not everyone is going to be a famous pastor. Not every pastor is going to have a church full of thousands of people every week. That is not the goal.

Some pastors are called to plow the field and others are called to reap the harvest. Some are called to reach a city and others are called to reach a village.

It’s not about fame or fortune. It’s about being faithful to the work God called you to. Whether its a rural church of 100 people or a mega church of 100,000, Be faithful to where God has called you.

This isn’t an excuse to be lazy. This isn’t an excuse for a small vision. This isn’t an excuse to not do your absolute best to reach as many people for Jesus as you possibly can.

But for those of you who are doing your best and preaching faithfully in smaller towns or smaller churches, it is validation that what you are doing matters to God just as much as those in big cities or big churches.

Our perception needs to change. Many times we honor the young pastor with large big ministry, when they still have many years ahead to stay faithful. Instead, we should be honoring the old pastor that has preached faithfully for decades.

Don’t fall into the fame trap. Don’t try to be anyone other than who God created you to be.

The true measure of a pastor is not whether he preached famously, but rather that he preached faithfully.

QUESTION: Have you ever felt the pressure to be more like one of your favorite pastors?

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  • http://www.williswired.com/ Randy Willis

    This is a good reminder and challenge!

    I’ve been thinking the same thing lately, that we must be content to not be famous, to live and lead in relative obscurity. When we try to build a name for ourselves, or build our brand, we could be headed down a dangerous path!

    • http://propreacher.com/ Brandon

      Thanks Randy. Glad to hear I’m not alone thinking this. Definitely a dangerous part of being in the public spotlight.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

    This is one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time. This message is what lots of people not only Pastors need to hear. Don’t do things for fame, do them for God and be faithful in doing so. Thank you for writing this blog post, many more need to see it.

    • http://propreacher.com/ Brandon

      Thank you! Glad to hear that this resonated with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.tisdale Adam Tisdale

    Great post! Two books have been really helpful for developing this same conviction (especially as a pastor a small church). Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by DA Carson – about his father’s ministry as a pastor in Canada. And The God of the Mundane by Matthew B Redmond, which reminds everyone that God cares and is in the mundane of our lives. One last helpful thing: Francis Schaeffer’s sermon “No Little People, No Little Places” – which can be found online.