To all the normal, average, talentless Christians…
Years ago I was invited to hear a well-known superstar pastor speak. As I sat in the enormous auditorium, the pre-service energy and excitement was high. Really high! A lady approached me and asked if I had ever heard him before in person. I told her no. She informed me I was in for an exciting experience. Wow, she was more than right, and awkwardly so!
The lights came down low. Huge monitors started flashing his name across the screen. The bass from the speakers was deep and drawn out. Then a deep voice bellowed as more lights flashed across the room, “This prophet of God has a message for you.” The introduction was so spectacular I was ready for a WWF wrestler to run out on the stage and tear his shirt off!
I have never heard such an intense message before! It was so different from my calm and collected professors. Honestly, I don’t even remember what he said, I just remember how he said it.
We live in the era of superstar Christians. It’s not just pastors – it’s musicians, politicians, and even talk show hosts. It’s our fault we love to make people into little gods, yet equally love to tear them down again. We love to make people way more than what they really are. They are all flawed messy sinners, every one of them.
Yet there is another danger that lurks in this era of superstar Christians and monster mega ministries* – the assumption that elite gifting is what qualifies someone to do ministry so most Christians stop doing ministry and just watch a few of the “great” ones be great.
Henri Nouwen calls this human tendency “the temptation to be spectacular.”
Listen to the way Dr. John McArthur describes even the disciples.
“It’s a shame they (the disciples) have so often been put on pedestals as magnificent marble figures, or portrayed in paintings like some kind of Roman gods. That dehumanizes them. They were just twelve completely ordinary men–human in every way–and we shouldn’t lose touch with who they really were. So what qualified those men to be apostles? The truth is, it wasn’t any intrinsic ability or outstanding talent of their own. They were Galileans. They were not the elite. Galileans were considered low-class, rural, uneducated people. They were commoners, nobodies. But those nobodies would become the preeminent leaders of the fledgling church–its very foundation!”
The way of Jesus is so powerful, you don’t have to be great to be a part of something great! (Reread that a few times.)
What truly makes the message of Jesus amazing isn’t the finite human package it may be delivered through; it literally is the message, the good news, itself.
What if imperfect people stopped obsessing over their lack of ability to eloquently communicate, or sing like an angel, or be a brilliant theologian and realized all the TRUE greatness that is in them is the message they carry?
What if Christians really believed that they all could do a little something for the poor? What if every normal, average educated, average gifted Christian just shared how Jesus has changed their life with a friend, in their own broken imperfect way? What if average, imperfect Christian parents prayed imperfect prayers over their families?
So let the great singers sing to the glory of God, let the great preachers preach to the glory of God, let the deep theologians write to the glory of God…but remember, normal Christian, what really, eternally makes them great isn’t them at all and is something that is absolutely in you, too.
Let me say this really clear! You are NOT less qualified to change a life, so stop just observing others and go do God’s work yourself!
Be Jesus in imperfect simple ways. That’s greatness. Millions of average people engaging their community in simple little ways is BETTER than 100 rock star Christians that we all just watch.
*I should say, clearly I am not against large ministries at all, I lead one! It isn’t about the size of the church, it’s about how it operates. Is it a one man show or a disciple making movement? I just have a deep desire to empower as many people as I can to engage in their communities, to be in their culture. I desire this MORE than hundreds or thousands showing up to watch me speak or hear our band play.