(Audio of the panel can be found HERE.)
What do we mean by celebrity pastors?
Trueman: Western culture is a celebrity culture. Knowing that our society is this way means that we need to be careful about how we present leaders in the church. What concerns me is that at the school that I teach students say the most influential pastors in their lives are not pastors they know and they are all aspiring to be these pastors with big churches. I wonder if this is why there is such a burnout rate among pastors. Big name pastors need to be careful of promoting themselves. Also it seems this does not seem to encourage faithfulness as much as worldly success. Paul says to find ordinary guys who preach the gospel.
Anyabwile: I agree with Carl’s concerns. I reacted online because there is also a need to appreciate men who are faithful and worthy of double honor. We need to bring a distinction between celebrity and notoriety.
Duncan: Certain media or platforms can project these kind of celebrity responses.
Anyabwile: We live in a day where anyone can make things public and viral. We also have a public that needs to be discerning about how we show appreciation. There are various levels of responsibility.
Duncan: We had Piper at T4G 8 years ago because he was faithful and encouraged us not popularity.
Mahaney: This conference exists for ordinary pastors.
How do you protect your heart about celebrity pastors?
Platt: This conversation is frightening because at every turn I want Christ to become great and I would not mind being great too. I have been tempted to be proud since I was born. I want to fight so that it would all be about Jesus.
Chandler: I agree but because of the culture we are in, when I try to fight it people are talking about how humble I am. I do not fear I will be all about Matt Chandler but I fear over the years that people who are in my ear will make me drift away. Also my wife is not impressed with me. There is no celebrity culture at home.
C. J. How should we think about those who are not known?
Mahaney: There are temptations for those who are known and even for those who are unknown. There is a 1 Corinthian problem in every church. If you struggle with numerical growth then it is pride being revealed in your heart. I weaken that pride by celebrating the success of others.
Trueman: You will not fill this building with guys who are not popular but why not have a few unknown pastors preach at T4G?
Mahaney: Carl how do you feel about the conference?
Trueman: My wife asked if I was looking forward to going. I said no but it will give me something to write about. But I must admit that I had a great time.