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The thing that has always concerned me about the rise and fall of Britney Spears is the same thing that I often see in ministry circles and it has bothered me for a long time. It is people who are called to ministry, that are extremely talented individuals, but never make it the long distance. They fizzle out long before their time. It’s much like what happened to Britney Spears. Would you rather be a shooting star or the North Star?
You see what happens in ministry circles is really not any different. There are several reasons why this is. First, we see this talented, gifted minister and we make him/her the poster child. I mean we tweet about them. We Facebook about them. We listen to CDs from them. We chant their names at conferences. We tell everyone they are the next, latest, greatest thing. We just want a piece of them, all of us. We treat them like some sort of celebrity following every move they make. We might even follow them around the country like a groupie so we can “catch a glimpse” of the man of God! Of course, they are dripping with a gift on their life but men were not meant to be worshiped, only God. When we act like this, we set these men up for failure. Part of this is our responsibility because when we feel empty inside we desperately want to find someone to make us feel valued and important so we prop up “men of God” because it makes us feel good about ourselves. I mean if I can just hear a great message from a great speaker I can get closer to God, right? They gave me hope, right? Nope, there is only one hope-giver!
The next thing that is difficult is not the people who follow this but the person doing the leading. Sometimes because of our vast, painful pasts, we want people to accept and approve of us. When the spotlight comes on we begin to crave the notoriety and the attention. It feels good for people to know our name. It feels good for people to want to hear how we have managed to become so successful. It makes up for a dysfunctional past, right? Nope again. It only tears down that leader and eventually reduces him to a golden calf-like image. Men were not meant to be worshiped or idolized. Our job as ministry leaders is to always point people back to Jesus and I don’t mean just with our speak or a shout out to Jesus when it is politically correct to do so. It needs to be with our conduct and our actions.
Let me help you out on this one. As a leader if I am always trying to get to the next level, always trying to get MY name out there, always talking about what MY ministry is accomplishing, always needing to be recognized, always trying to market MY endeavors, always trying to ride the momentum train so I can be noticed, well then there is a problem. Especially if it is all in the name of “promoting the gospel” so many will be “saved”. Humility is not optional. People know when insecurity is driving the train. Well, people who know how to see train wrecks do.
Lets face it, we did this same thing to Britney Spears too. We saw her gift, we pulled on her, we worshiped her, and we all wanted a piece of her. We had to get to her sold-out concerts, we loved watching interviews of her on every channel. We surfed her on the internet. We wanted to buy her line of perfume. We made her a star by chasing her gift. In essence we used her and pulled on her as an American public and so much so that eventually she cracked. Oh and we were there for that too to ridicule and wonder what happened to “that gifted girl”.
My husband used to travel with a very popular minister. He was gifted beyond his years and his time. People noticed that, people pulled on that. He began to be worshiped and elevated. He was all over television. He knew all of the stars and celebrities. His gift brought vast attention from all of Hollywood, shoot the world. He was the next new thing in Christian circles. Man, Christians could not get enough of him. He was one of the most gifted communicators and very charismatic in his speak. He was impressive. He was incredibly impressive and everyone wanted him to speak at their conference or their church. When he did, he would bring a star-studded line-up with him. Everyone thought he was the coolest, he was “saving Hollywood!”
Where is he today? His marriage failed due to sexual immorality, among other reasons. He married again. It failed for the same reasons. He has been caught in a pattern of sexual and financial sin. He began to let corrupt things come from his mouth. He began hiding a drinking problem. He completely turned his back on correction because he had been put on a pedestal for so long that he felt he couldn’t be corrected. He disregarded any counsel. Why would he need to change anything? I mean he was the “man of the hour” why does he have to listen to anyone? He is the gifted one. He is the talented one. He is the one people are chasing.
Lastly, I want to tell you this. If you are in close contact with a Christian “Britney Spears”, please treat them like a regular person. Yes, honor them in a biblical way, but don’t worship them. Tell them the truth even if it means you lose your job. Tell them the truth, even if they push you away. Tell them the truth, even if you lose a little bit of the luster yourself from having to be the one to disagree and move on. Don’t be addicted to thinking you are the answer and fueling the dysfunctional behavior. If people don’t tell them the truth, they will end up just like Britney Spears did: a gifted, talented person who was used up. She was not protected and somewhere down the line thought the rules were different for her. I mean that is what we do to people we perceive as “talented”. It does not matter if it is in ministry circles or in the secular world. I hope to see this change because we don’t need Britney Spears Christianity. We need men and women who are secure in Jesus and him alone!
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