10 REASONS SOME PASTORS DEVELOP A SUPERSTAR MENTALITY
By Joseph Mattera
From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because a leader has name recognition or becomes popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit these traits. However, It would be less then honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own. The following are ten reasons some church leaders develop a superstar mentality.
1. They have a sense of entitlement.
Some folks think more highly then they ought to think of themselves and believe in their heart that they deserve better treatment then any other human being (Romans 12:3).
2. Because of their celebrity status they think they are above the law.
When a celebrity leader (could be a celebrity in a small church as well as a large church based on the adulation of the people and their own self deception) gets used to having sycophants around him – they are used to getting what they want -when they want it! Hence, they push aside boundaries and live a life that satisfies their fleshly inclinations.
3. They are unaccountable.
Superstar pastors often think nobody is qualified to speak into their life. Some pastors and leaders think that they are so spiritual and successful, they have reached a point that nobody is able to speak into their life and teach them anything. When someone attempts to speak into them, they may ask the question in their mind, “Is this person as wealthy as me? or Do they have as many people in their church as I do? — before they even consider hearing what they have to say!
4. They don’t trust anybody.
Many superstar pastors are really projecting a false self of confidence and aloofness because they don’t trust enough to have intimate relationships with anybody -including their spouse and children
5. Their self identity is subsumed by their ministry identity.
Some start off ok, but eventually their success — fueled by their driving ambition to be respected and known — becomes the primary way they view themselves. Thus, they lose their core essence and live through a false sense of success and power.
6. They become narccistic to medicate the pain of their past.
Many superstar leaders abuse their leadership privileges by manipulating others for their own advantage, and or are involved in substance abuse, adultery, excessive entertainment, frequent vacations, and others lusts of the flesh to medicate the un-dealt-with pain they have from the great responsibilities, intense life, and other pressure cooker items that make them feel trapped with no outlet. Thus, they succumb to temporary fixes that give them a reprieve from their miserable reality.
7. They erroneously equate anointing to minister with God’s personal favor.
Some believe that because they preach great messages and experience the power of God when ministering that that is a sign that God’s favor is upon them, even if they are not living a life of holiness. Scripture teaches us through the narrative of Samson that prioritizing anointing and power before the Fruit of the Spirit will eventually catch up to you and result in an untimely end to your ministry.
8. They preach a Christ without a cross and a gospel centered on self rather then on sacrifice.
Some superstar leaders preach a “rights centered” gospel that is centered upon self rather then on Christ. This results in living a life of indulgence that has no boundaries that limit their desire for the physical amenities of life.
9. They associate with other superstar pastors who reinforce this superstar culture.
The old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is a truism in which people tend to congregate mostly with others who believe like them and reinforce their belief system and lifestyle, which can be either a force for good or evil. Demigod leaders tend to associate with other spiritual divas and even have them preach in their church because they don’t want any dissident voice that will call them to account and bring a standard of holiness.
10. Those closest to them don’t challenge them.
Often the person with the most influence to speak into the pastor is the spouse. Unfortunately, often the lavish superstar lifestyle can abate the conscience of said spouse because of all the goodies and bling that come to them. When the voice of the spouse is either ignored or silent, then the person with the greatest chance of correcting them is non-existent. The same goes for their inner-circle and close friends and family who may also benefit from this opulent lifestyle.
In closing, this article was not written with the intent to arouse a critical spirit in the Body of Christ but to offer a prophetic correction so that we can turn back to the way of Jesus and the apostles. If some read this and use it as an excuse to gossip and be critical of their leader, then they are missing the point, and are just as guilty as the one they are judging. Also, as a pastor for over thirty years, I have seen these traits in leaders of all stripes, both in the marketplace and in the church. Furthermore, all believers have the same sinful root issues as these superstar pastors, hence, we need to abstain from personal judgment and allow these ten principles to convict our own soul.###
Dr. Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York, a multiethnic congregation of 40 nationalities that has successfully developed numerous leaders and holistic ministry in the New York region and beyond. This article was first published on his website at: http://josephmattera.org.
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