Archive for June 21, 2009

Picture it: An Italian suit-wearing, copious adornment-blinging, freshly inked bible-touting, mightily poised on his throne-sitting, big time preacher in his big time church.

And then, without hesitation, the TV cameras turn off and the aforementioned primadonna says, “Any questions?”

When megachurch pastors care enough to send the very best

When megachurch pastors care enough to send the very best

You could hear a church mouse fart up in that place. I mean, talk about something that would Marcel Marceau squeak. That question would do it.

Nonetheless, it happened recently in Plymouth, Mich. at Brad Powell’s 14,000-member Northridge Church with much ado about something.

Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church kicked off the “You Asked For It” sermon series last weekend, hoping to engage the thousands who come for worship. The series, he says, is about taking God’s truth and applying it to the countless questions believers and also non-believers have about God and the Christian faith.

Somewhere, closed-minded, uber-snotty, self-aggrandizing megachurch pastors are cringing while thinking to themselves, “Man! I thought once we got big enough, I wouldn’t have to hang with the serfdom. Shoot!”

Now, the PR dude in me is wondering if there were staged questions. Um, not so much.

“Brad, why do you seem so distant?” one question posed.

Although I abhor the practice and trend of calling your pastor by his first name, I adore this question.

Just come out swinging. Pow! What. Up. Who hasn’t thought about their pastor? Yeah, me too, which is why I left a megachurch.

Another asked: “How big is too big for a church?”

Holy POW Batman

Maybe this is Pastor Brad on Halloween?

Crash! I feel like I am jonesin’ for one of those scenes from Adam West’s “Batman” because the smackdown is on like Donkey Kong.

These are questions pew-warming Christians have opined for decades but never had the chutzpah to inquire. Ever.

And why? Name a single megachurch pastor – besides the darling of this post – who does this?! One. G’head… I’ll wait.

Okay, while I’ll separate my whites from colors, I’ll continue with the musing.

The point is this is novel, which is why it made the Christian Post. The problem is a misdirection of view that begins in the pastor’s office.

Churches – big, small or somewhere resting in some cat’s living room – are meant to be theocracies. Governed by God, via the Holy Spirit, through the vessel in-charge known as “Pastor.” The regretful aspect is once these churches get a little growth, notoriety and… oh yeah, cash… the “theo” is put out to pasture and the “auto” stampede comes corralling back to the chapel.

In other words, the pastor gets self-promoted to “Bishop” or just “Mand of Gawd,” stops shopping off the rack, looks into getting his beat-down American-made hooptie on the Carmax home page and sets his eyes on the Bentleys of the world. Sigh.

Is that really what being a pastor is all about? Lemme consult my Bible for that answer:

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep (John 10:11 NKJV).

Get that? The good shepherd. So, all those who aren’t… we’re watching you. It’s not about taking life to pad a pocketbook. It’s giving life to pad a soul in the bosom of the Lord. Next?

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by my own (John 10:14 NKJV).

This is regretfully true on both sides of the green pasture. Ask most congregants of a megachurch, “Where do you go to church?” and odds are they will act like the pastor. Why? We are called sheep for a reason. Or better yet, like my father taught me, “A person is smart. People are stupid.”

Now, of course “Shepherd” is a metaphoric term indicating a man who can be trusted with great treasures. Whether those gems are the livestock that pay a herder’s rent or the souls of the lost and found who fill the church, a pastor’s job is to be in charge and feed them, love them and nurture them.

Thank God for Pastor Brad. If he got my mojo working across the U.S., there’s no telling what he did for his people sitting in the back row.

We should be asking our shepherds weekly questions about the food we are being fed, where we are being led and how he intends to get us there. He is not our CEO. He is not our muse. He is not the Pope. He ain’t Billy Graham.

From the megachurch pastor's point of view

From the megachurch pastor's point of view

Fellow sheep, he is our pastor and he has a job for two reasons: 1.) God called him there (well, most of them can say that honestly) and 2.) We pay his bills.

Wall watchers, ask more of your pastor, minister, reverend, bishop, elder or dude leading church. If they aren’t up to snuff as the Bible in Titus 1:5-9 or 1 Timothy 3:1-7, then either bow up and make your request be made known unto to God and man, or give up the peace sign, the ghost and your membership.

Sheep can’t talk. You can! Anyone disagree? Na-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a.