Ok, I’m back home from my 2 weeks at school. It was a great intensive this year on many accounts. Here’s something that’s been scrambling my brain from this last week.
It’s my cohort’s turn to go through our psych evaluations. This is something I welcome and had little fear over. Last monday, one of our professors met with us to explain the process and what the results could mean as well as the terminologies that will be used. During this, he mentioned that generally the majority of seminarians have a higher than average score with narcissism. This is what started me thinking. I began thinking more and more all week about high profile Christian pastors in America and why they are high profile. Then, I began thinking about how we train pastors to be pastors and even more.
Here’s what is bugging me. If we as Christians believe that as Christians we must die to ourselves daily, and that leaders must be servants first…then why do we accept high levels of narcissism in our pastors? I mean, I understand that what my prof was saying is that it takes a certain level of narcissism to want to stand in front of people and speak each week. However, where is the line between a calling to teach in front of others and simply seeking fame, attention, and the glory that should be God’s for ourselves?
Even our Christian sub-culture seems to reward this type of behavior. We reward busy-ness, and I find more and more pastors who fool themselves into thinking their busy-ness is their business. If we have more people to speak to, more meetings in a week, more conferences to go to and/or speak at…then somehow we are “better.” What I see happening more and more is the role of pastor becoming confused with motivational speakers. Just look at the large crowds for Joel Osteen each week, a man who may have all the best intentions but seems to be more of a feel good speaker than a pastor. Ambition to sign book deals and get on lecture trails often trumps the time and care of people in a local community. When I think back to my ideas of what a “pastor” is, I think of care more than ability to speak (while that was part of it).
More than this, I began to wonder about the image of Jesus that is being morphed in the midst of this shift in identity of pastor. IF we are so caught up in ourselves and our own glory, how does this perpetuate a false image of who Jesus is? Do people see the Jesus in me more than the Chad?
I know that there are certainly many called men and women who are and will be amazing pastors in the Biblical sense. I’m just concerned that we may be blurring the role of pastor with entertainer and the Jesus we present may be getting lost in those of us who use his name to make money and get famous.