Mark Driscoll has been removed from the church network he started. Some of you will know him, others won’t. He’s a mega church pastor in the U.S. who has started stacks of ministry things and got a lot of influence, especially amongst church planters and young pastors. He’s been to the highest of heights, and now finds himself at the lowest of lows.
Hero worship is out of control in our society. Sports stars, politicians, activists, bloggers, business people, actors, musicians and even pastors find themselves on very public platforms. More public than ever before. And these platforms are impossible to maintain.
When we, the public, raise people to a place of disproportionate prominence it is fraught with danger. (click to tweet that)
It’s natural to look to others for encouragement, guidance and motivation. We all have mentors and heroes in our lives that inspire us, but at some point we will find ourselves let down by them. Why? Because they are mere human beings like you and me. They have failings like you and me. They have personal issues and sin they are wrestling with, just like you and me.
But here is what I see as the real problem. The platforms we subconsciously build for people was never intended for them. It is our admiration and enthusiasm for these individuals that has built the scaffolding that holds them up. We all want fame, we all want to be known, we all want to be liked and we all want somewhere to direct our worship, but the problem comes when we direct it toward the wrong things, especially toward other human beings.
We’ve all worshipped people unfairly. We’ve all had it done to us in some capacity. We simply cannot keep up with people’s expectations of us, whether we create the expectation or its given to us. We were never meant for so much scrutiny. Attending their conferences, buying their books, sharing their posts, liking their statuses, supporting their rallies and listening to their podcasts all adds another plank to their already lofty, temporary and influential structure.
It’s why I decided to reduce how much I listened to some of my favourite preachers. I didn’t want to add to their worship. It’s not fair on them for me to continually demand more from them.
It’s why I double-check everything I read and hear from someone with a platform. I’ve blindly followed people in the past and it’s left me in really bad places.
Thankfully though, we have a hero who has fallen. A hero who found the strength to ignore the weight of worldly expectation.
Jesus turned down the unhealthy praise of men and sought acceptance from his Father only. He knew that his time of glory and fame would come. He was never reliant upon his earthly influence.
When a person, Christian pastor or otherwise has a large, out of proportion platform, a tumble from the top is possible, dare I say inevitable. Our modern world has been built on the cult of hero worship, and we Christians are not immuned from this phenomenon.
Sadly, falls from grace for famous, well-known people is going to become common place, even within Christian ministries. In the meantime (and for all time), it’s best we steer our attention and worship toward the one who can truly handle the praise and adoration: Jesus.
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And maybe, there is some perspective for us (me) here…there are Christians being beheaded in Iraq whilst we provide commentary on the fall of Mark Driscoll from his Christian celebrity platform.
Reality check? [tick]