Internet rule #34: if it exists, there is a fetish for it.
That’s a real saying, one I didn’t make up. And even if you have never heard it, chances are you don’t have a hard time believing it. People seem to have no shortage of talent when it comes to taking good things and turning them into obsessions.
Rule #34 is no less true for Christians either.
One of my posts from long ago in the archives is still my favorite, where I described how prosperity preaching resembles pornography.
But, I have discovered a new Christian fetish, one for those of us whose engines just don’t get revved up by prosperity preaching. We celebrate it. We gather by the thousands to get a glimpse of it. We idolize and glamorize and fetishize it above all else.
I can sense pupils dilated and palms sweating just reading that word.
Amazing Leadership Beauty and Style Tips
The church has a problem. It’s the hyper-idolization of leadership.
Hollywood celebrities provide no shortage of made-up, airbrushed, not-quite-real standards of beauty for the rest of us to try to live up to.
And Christian Hollywood (which is a term I just made up) has no shortage of beautiful, glamorous leaders. They are images, perfectly coiffed, touched-up and fashionably dressed. They are perfectly poised and confident. They have huge audiences and book deals and DVD sermon series. The title minister is passe, and I suspect the word pastor is soon to be too. No, these perfect Christian celebrities are leaders, and they make leadership look glamorous and desirable.
So the rest of us idolize these images of leaders, and we try to be like them. We go to their conferences. We buy their books. We listen to their podcasts. We try to absorb every leadership beauty tip they have for us. We are desperate to look like them, and we are always coming up short, so we keep buying their products and listening to their talks.
Five Leadership Moves That Will Drive Them Wild
The result of all of this is that Christians are no longer focused on ministry. We’re focused on leadership.
We no longer know the difference between leadership and ministry. Our churches are becoming over-led. I see tweets from pastors all the time that are about nothing but meetings, strategy sessions, “killing it” (if ever there was a dumber cliche, I haven’t heard it), drinking coffee, “workflows” and other nonsense. Of course, they tweet this, because they want everyone to know they are living the glamorous life of leadership.
And leaders are taught to create, you guessed it, more leaders. Leaders, leaders, leaders. I forget, were Jesus’ parting words to create leaders of all nations? If you want a top-heavy, over-led church that focuses on little more than growing the organization hierarchy, then get yourself some more leaders.
How To Satisfy Them and Keep Them Coming Back for More Leadership
The funny thing is, we don’t usually see celebrities at home, in their sweatpants, without their makeup. They aren’t so glamorous then. We just get the idolized, fetishized image. It represents just a fraction of their real lives.
And like pornography does not represent real sex, the idolized, fetishized “leadership” we’re being peddled is a waif-ish, skinny, unrealistic version of ministry.
A minister is not glamorous.
A minister is in the trenches, not always in the spotlight or in the conference room.
A minister is nudging from behind as much as he’s pulling from in front.
In other churches the priests do the work of leadership, while the “laypeople” watch. The rest of us think we’re so enlightened and free from that old hierarchy because we have a hip, relevant church.
Then we do the exact same thing. We put leaders up on a golden pedestal and watch, glassy-eyed, wishing we could be that beautiful.
Am I right? Do we have a problem of too many leaders and not enough ministers? Do we glamorize leadership at the expense of the real dirty work that needs to be done?