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TEN CONTRASTS BETWEEN ENTERTAINERS AND LEADERS
By Joseph Mattera

There is a great tendency in human nature to crave the affirmation of other human beings. With some people, their need for affirmation is so great it hinders their ability to discern between the will of God and the will of man. What is more alarming is the fact that those who lead churches and Christian organizations are not exempt from this tendency.

The fact of the matter is, if you are a local church pastor, chief executive officer of a ministry or business, you are called to lead not entertain. Many do not understand the difference. If your primary goal is to make people happy, become an entertainer, not a leader. Leaders by nature should be on the cutting edge of God’s will, which challenges people to leave their comfort zones.

Often times this causes people to be upset with their leaders. The leader also should keep people accountable to standards of excellence. This becomes especially difficult when a leader is close friends or family with those aligned under their spiritual authority. Many do not understand how to discern between business and friendship, and it causes a rift in the relationship.

The following are ten contrasts between entertainers and leaders.

1. Entertainers primary goal is to make people happy. A leader’s goal is to empower/provoke people to excellence.

An entertainer’s primary focus in their ministry is to keep their people happy and satisfied. Sometimes folks are happy because they are comfortable and feel secure but their own hearts is deceiving them. A true leader’s primary goal is to disturb the comfortable and provoke them to excellence. For example if an athlete never pushed himself to the point of pain in his training, he will never excel. True leaders push their people to the perimeter of their potential in Christ.

2. Entertainers perform. Leaders lead.

Entertainers put all their effort into the public performance of their speaking, worship team, visual effects and appearance. They do not take a lot of time evaluating whether their followers are truly growing in Christ. A true leader cares about their public appearance, but puts more time focusing on bringing people into the promised land of their destinies.

3. Entertainers avoid disagreement at all costs. Leaders often provoke disagreement and discomfort.

Since entertainers crave affirmation because of their own lack of self-esteem, they will attempt to avoid strife and disagreement with their people. True leaders don’t really care so much about disagreement because their main motivation is to move people from passivity to purpose.

4. Entertainers gauge their success based on numbers. Leaders base their success on obedience to their assignment.

Entertainers count nickels and noses. It’s all about church attendance and offerings. If both are high then they are happy. True biblical leaders gauge their success on remaining faithful to the call of God upon their lives and organization. For example Jeremiah is considered one of the greatest prophets of all time, but yet he had only a few who believed him. He was not only rejected by his leaders and thrown into prison, he also died in exile.

Furthermore, when Isaiah received his mandate from God (Isaiah 6), God told him nobody would listen to him and the cities would eventually become desolate! John the Baptist only had a six month ministry and died in prison, yet Jesus called him the greatest person ever born of a woman (Matt. 11:11).

By today’s standards of success, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist, to name a few, were very unsuccessful! Even Jesus only had one hundred and twenty true followers after more than three years of ministry (Acts 1). However, the true gauge of success in the kingdom is obedience to our assignments, not numbers.

5. Entertainers are popular with the mainstream. Leaders are often distained by the mainstream.

Entertainers always put their hand in the air to sense where the wind is blowing and then they will go in that direction. They are politicians who crave the vote of the majority, and care little about the holy minority. They will preach only what will receive the least resistance and will always stand on the edges of compromise so not to offend. It is not just what they say, but what they will not say that matters. (They will never say anything controversial when it comes to social and moral values.)

Leaders (like Dr. Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill) speak the truth even when it could cost them their careers or their lives. When true leaders lead, they are often on the prophetic edge of what God is saying and only have “innovators and early adaptors” as their followers. It is easy to go with the mainstream, difficult to swim upstream; leaders swim upstream and are counter cultural.

6. Entertainers make people feel good. Leaders transform people.

Entertainers dream about how they can make people feel good. Leaders dream about how they can make disciples that will transform the world. Entertainers focus on attracting the crowds, leaders like Jesus, focus on the few that will eventually build a movement that will transform the world.

7. Entertainers long for acceptance. Leaders provoke respect.

Entertainers live to be loved and liked, while leaders primarily desire influence and respect. For example good parents are not always liked, but are respected by their children when they have to correct them because they have their best long-term interests in mind. Likewise, leaders understand that maintaining respect is more important to release the purpose of God then garnering social acceptance and likeability. Jesus wasn’t always liked and understood, but His followers (John 6:60-71) always respected him.

8. Entertainers are focused on the present. Leaders are focused on the future.

Entertainers are focused on making people feel happy in the moment. They base all their strategies around programs, hype, and visceral experiences that lift people’s souls. Leaders not only want to emotionally lift the souls of others, they want to transform the lifestyle of people’s souls towards a divine trajectory.

9. Entertainers focus on their public persona. Leaders focus on their interior lives.

Many entertainers spend hours in front of the mirror practicing their public speaking, reviewing their body language and appearance. They focus primarily on their outward appearance so as to attract the most followers. In contrast, true leaders focus more on their interior lives and gives God space to transform their souls. They obey the words of Jesus who said to first cleanse the inside of the cup and then the outside will also be clean (Matt. 23:26).

10. Entertainers receive the accolades of men. Leaders receive their accolades from God.

At the end of the day, entertainers may go down in history as being popular with men, but what will the verdict be when they stand before God? In eternity it will be known that many loved the glory that come from men more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).

Leaders may not always be the most popular ones while they are alive, but they will be received into eternity with a rich reward and will eventually have the most influence on the earth with men.

SEVEN REASONS WHY MANY BELIEVERS FOLLOW “SUPERSTAR” PASTORS
By Joseph Mattera

The church has seen the rise of “celebrity cult status” pastors who act like spiritual superstars.

In this article I define superstars as those who act as little gods who believe they are above everybody else. They walk around with an entourage, body guards, and are inaccessible to family, friends, high level staff and peers, and are an unaccountable island to themselves.

Furthermore, no matter how much these leaders violate biblical ethics, they still maintain their leadership position because most of their followers are blinded by their devotion. Many of these superstars have started in the ministry for the right reason but because of un-dealt with emotional dysfunction related to their youth. They carry these dysfunctions over into their ministry and church family.

There are some social and psychological reasons for this aberrant behavior / both from the vantage point of the leader and their followers.

The following are some of these symptoms and reasons:

7 Reasons Why followers follow superstar pastors

1. Many Christians need a male figure to emulate.

Many believers come from dysfunctional family backgrounds and need a male figure hero to emulate as a father figure. Some folks view their spiritual leader as a surrogate father, hence they will be protective of said leader to the point in which their emotional connection and loyalty clouds biblical truth

2. Many Christians have no identity of their own and live vicariously through their leader.

Those without a healthy self-identity gravitate towards a strong, confident leader with a compelling vision to the point in which their own individuality is subsumed or fragmented. Thus, this creates a vacuum of being and essence which makes them vulnerable to a charismatic leader; e.g., this is how false prophet Jim Jones was able to lead 900 well-educated followers into committing corporate suicide in Guyana in the 1970′s.

3. Many believers have a strong sense of failure and live through the success of their Leader.

Many people live a boring life without purpose and feel that they have more meaning when vicariously live their life through a person they deem successful.

4. Many followers lack their own intimate knowledge of Christ and are ignorant of Scripture.

Unfortunately, most Christians are Bible-illiterate and will believe anything their leader teaches them, even if it is heretical. Hence, their leader can live a life or lead their church in a way not congruent with Scripture and they wouldn’t even know it!

5. Many stay connected to the leader primarily because of their social community.

After being in a church for several years, folks usually assimilate into that particular faith community (which is a great thing in most cases) and build their social network around their church life and ministry. If they leave their church, they have to cut off many of these social ties, thus, they will continue in a church even if the leader is living an ungodly life full of pride, abuse, and manipulation

6. Many are connected to a superstar leader because it gives them religious status.

There are many people I have met who attend a certain church only because they have a lot of members, even if they are not being discipled or ministered to in a personal way. They get fed from other sources but remain in their church because the celebrity status of their leader gives them status with other Christians in their city.

7. Many have low self esteem and don’t recognize when they are being abused or manipulated.

Those with self-esteem will allow others to abuse, disrespect, and even manipulate them because they don’t have enough self-dignity to disapprove or even recognize it. Many of these folks were abused or neglected at home and live with a sense of guilt and feel an unconscious need to have authority figures who act the same way as their parents did (to satiate their feelings of guilt in some cases).

In closing, in rare instances where I perceive believers start attending our local congregation who come from these dysfunctional churches, I am not as quick (as usual) to discourage their attendance, but am willing to open up our congregation to them as a place for them to receive personal ministry and (hopefully) flourish in their faith.

Read the previous article: 10 Reasons Some Church Leaders Become Divas

Source: http://josephmattera.org/seven-reasons-many-believers-follow-superstar-pastors/

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EIGHT WAYS A LOCAL CHURCH CAN LIMIT BELIEVERS
By Joseph Mattera

I have served as a senior pastor for 30 years, and I have also worked extensively with political, community and business leaders over the past three decades. As my understanding regarding the Kingdom of God and marketplace ministry has evolved, I see church with a new lens and notice the frustration many young people and professionals have regarding their local churches. Many in these categories feel limited rather than celebrated and released into their callings. Continue reading “How Empire-Building Church Leaders Limit Followers” »

Editor’s Note: For more than 35 years I’ve been doing all I can to alert the Body of Christ to the prevalent problem of ungodly, unChrist-like hyper-authoritarian church leaders. They are the bane of the church in that they pervert and distort the whole concept of human under-shepherds who are supposed to be mirroring and representing the Great Shepherd, the literal and functional Head of the Church that He is building. Human leaders shape the earthly church in many ways — some of which are tangible and obvious, others intangible and subtle. For many years, the author of the following article has worked closely with, coached and counseled, and observed church leaders. Primarily, his work and associations have not been with the Pentecostal/Charismatic branch of the church; nevertheless, his observations about church leaders and leadership often have application to that realm as well. My book, Charismatic Captivation, remains, 18 years after its release, to be one of the leading books dealing head-on with the matter of hyper-authoritarianism in the Neo-Pentecostal church, in particular, and continues to be found by hundreds of new readers and scores of booksellers every year around the world. One of the reasons for the continued demand for the book, I believe, is that it is a prophetic book, written from a prophet’s perspective, scribed through a prophetic pen. One significant hallmark of genuine prophets is that they disdain and eschew ecclesiastical politics, to their self-detriment and deterrence of their ministry in many ways. Certainly, this book’s contents reflects all of that. It is direct and straightforward. It spares not. In writing it, I made no attempt to be politically-correct, but every attempt to put to paper exactly what I heard the Lord speaking in my Spirit, without sugar-coating it. For these reasons, the self-appointed, de facto Pentecostal/Charismatic aristocracy has by no means accepted or received the message of this book, even to the present. The backcover copy captured and prophesied the essence of why the book’s message has been so disdained by many Charismatic ministers: “Charismatic Captivation exposes the widespread authoritarian abuse that has been flourishing virtually unabated for decades since it was first infused into the very fabric, foundation, and functions of the Charismatic/Neo-Pentecostal church during the ‘Discipleship/Shepherding Movement.'” The symptoms of toxic church leaders the author of the following article identifies are essentially identical to the signs and symptoms of abusive church leadership identified in my books and other writings. The only comment I would make about the article regards the first sentence. While I would agree with it when applied to the entire institutional church as a whole, unfortunately, the percentages of toxic church leaders within the Pentecostal/Charismatic is higher than the church-at-large. There’s a number of significant reasons for that, albeit that matter is beyond the scope of this post. The recent spate of church leaders being exposed as being dominating and controlling abusers of authority and the far-reaching effects of their antichrist leadership methodologies demonstrates the extensiveness and expansiveness of this spiritually destructive cancer that a large portion of the church has stubbornly refused to recognize and thus allowed to metastasize virtually unabated for decades, despite the warnings and admonitions of some of its prophets. Espousal and practice of these symptoms of spiritual toxicity in leadership are by no means limited to the ecclesiastical realm, but are also increasingly found in the Christian business arena as well, particularly among the ranks of business enterprises that spiritually identify with Neo-Pentecostal streams and associate their business endeavors with the more spiritual-sounding realm of “marketplace ministries,” where the cult-like tactics of domination and control are the same, despite the claim to a more sophisticated and spiritual stratosphere than that of the normal business realm.[End Editor’s Note]

Fourteen Symptoms of Toxic Church Leaders
By Thom Ranier

Most church leaders are godly and healthy. A toxic church leader, one that is figuratively poisonous to the organization, is rare. But it is that church leader who brings great harm to churches and other Christian organizations. And it is that leader that hurts the entire cause of Christ when word travels about such toxicity. Continue reading “Fourteen Common Traits of Toxic Church Leaders” »

By Chuck Lawless

I admit my bias here. I am a seminary dean and professor, and I believe in education. Students help to pay my salary. They have become my friends, my mentees, my children in the faith. Graduates make me proud.

My reason for writing this post, though, goes beyond these thoughts. If we are doing the work of God, we must give our absolute best. I desire to be part of a team that trains and sends out the strongest leaders in the world—leaders who make a difference in the kingdom of darkness. Those leaders never stop learning. Continue reading “10 Reasons Church Leaders Need Continuing Education” »

At a juncture in American history when the sitting president has revealed himself in obvious and undeniable ways to be an avowed Marxist with a belly filled with fiery ambitions of a would-be world-dictator, hell-bent on transforming the republican form of government that for nearly 240 years has well-served this, the greatest nation on Earth, into a totalitarian socialistic nanny state, the matter of legitimate versus illegitimate authority is being speedily forced to the top of public discourse. A plethora of political as well as social science experts and pundits agree that the United States of America at this hour stands at the threshold of collapse and utter ruin. It can hardly be mere coincidence that every segment of American society, from political to economical to ecclesiastical, is inundated with people driven by what Augustine called libido dominandi—lust for rule or dominion.

The scope of this two-part article series is primarily leadership in the ecclesiastical realm. However, much, if not all, of the principles regarding legitimate and illegitimate authority—i.e., abuse of authority—addressed herein can also with some adaptation be applied to authority in any realm of society and human interaction.

The main focus of the initial installment of our discussion was the matter of hyper-authoritarianism in general and how easy it is for the most principled spiritual leaders to cross over the “thin line of leadership” between leading and lording, discipling and dominating, coaching and coercing, to operate in “foul ground” without even realizing it. In this part, we begin turning our attention to some of the whys and wherefores of ecclesiastical predominance. Continue reading “The Thin Line of Leadership (Part 2)” »

At a juncture in American history when the sitting president has revealed himself in obvious and undeniable ways to be an avowed Marxist with a belly filled with fiery ambitions of a would-be world-dictator, hell-bent on transforming the republican form of government that for nearly 240 years has well-served this, the greatest nation on Earth, into a totalitarian socialistic nanny state, the matter of legitimate versus illegitimate authority is being speedily forced to the top of public discourse. A plethora of political as well as social science experts and pundits agree that the United States of America at this hour stands at the threshold of collapse and utter ruin. It can hardly be mere coincidence that every segment of American society, from political to economical to ecclesiastical, is inundated with people driven by what Augustine called libido dominandi—lust for rule or dominion.

The scope of this article and the series it inaugurates is primarily leadership in the ecclesiastical realm. However, much, if not all, of the principles regarding legitimate and illegitimate authority—i.e., abuse of authority—addressed herein can also with some adaptation be applied to authority in any realm of society and human interaction.

There is a very thin line between leading and lording, discipling and dominating, coaching and coercing. So thin is the line, it is at times and in certain scenarios nearly indistinguishable. Continue reading “The Thin Line of Leadership (Part 1)” »

By Joseph Mattera

May God help us to not lead from insecurity, through manipulation, or for personal ambition! Here are 25 practical examples that indicate when someone is leading from their dark side:

1. You inwardly celebrate when a colleague or fellow minister falls.

2. Your spirit of competition causes you to inwardly celebrate when other organizations or ministries in your field aren’t doing as well as you.

3. You are more concerned about your local church or organization than the good of the kingdom of God and cultural transformation.

4. You manipulate people to promote yourself and try to make things happen instead of allowing God to open doors and promote you.

5. You look for opportunities to backstab other leaders in your region or field of work.

6. You are driven to succeed to counter your insecurity, poor self-esteem and a sense of insignificance.

7. You thwart the emergence of other strong leaders in your organization.

8. You are closed-up relationally and have no open, transparent relationships in which you share your weaknesses and fears.

9. You do not share power and work on your own in regards to major decisions that impact your organization or ministry.

10. You are shifty in relationships, taking sides with those you are presently with, then taking another point of view when with another person when there is a conflict or controversy.

11. You will sacrifice the future for the present in regards to debt financing and risk taking instead of leaving a legacy of financial sustainability.

12. You do not receive correction kindly but always get inwardly defensive.

13. You are constantly blaming others when things go wrong.

14. You constantly justify yourself instead of facing your failures.

15. You have no deep relationship with God and lead out of your flesh and soul life.

16. You don’t lead out of sound biblical principles unless it is convenient.

17. You view yourself more as a pragmatist than a principled person.

18. You are loyal to people only until you have used them to get to the next level.

19. You avoid confrontation and walking in the light according to Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 John 1:7.

20. You only care for those who care for you and serve your agenda.

21. Your greatest desire in life is to make a name for yourself.

22. The bottom line in regards to organizational effectiveness is more important to you than people.

23. You have a hard time forgiving those who offend you.

24. You carry resentment and baggage from the past that you refuse to let go.

25. You don’t walk in the peace of God but in the stress of the world.###
__________________

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. Visit his website at: http://josephmattera.org.


The Problem with Cheap Grace Churches and Preaching
By Joseph Mattera

The past several decades we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.

In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “cheap grace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach. (I was told there is even a new television station devoted to this view of “grace.”)

Furthermore, many churches and preachers refuse to take a stand against sin and rarely if ever mention the need for repentance and topics like hell and judgment! For example, I heard from one leader that in our recent battle against same-sex marriage he only knows of one evangelical leader who actually spoke against same-sex marriage from the pulpit. This is in spite of same-sex marriage being the most important cultural battle of our generation besides abortion! Many of these same churches allow people to minister in music, as small group leaders, and even as ministers with no personal accountability while looking the other way when they are living sexually immoral lives and regularly engaged in drunkenness! Continue reading “The Problem with Cheap Grace Churches and Preaching” »

Having started in full-time ministry at the age of 22 and pioneering a local congregation at the age of 25, much of this article comes from the “school of hard knocks.” Either I have made each of the following mistakes or I have observed them made by other pastors in my 30+ years of full-time ministry.

My definition of “young” for this article is somewhere between the ages of 20-40. But, of course, this varies with each person’s degree of maturity or immaturity. There may even be many leaders between the ages of 50-80 who exhibit some of these same qualities!

This is not meant to categorize every young person; it is meant to illustrate some of the most common mistakes. But not every young person makes each of these mistakes. Following are some of the most common mistakes. Continue reading “Twelve Common Mistakes Young Pastors/Leaders Make” »

[Editor’s note:]Over time in the ministry you have opportunities to meet and know people in various forms of ministry and ancillary fields of endeavor such as Christian entertainment of various levels of notoriety. My beginnings in the ministry afforded me perhaps more opportunities than most in that regard. One of the observations I was forced to make early on in my experience as a Born Again Christian is that no matter how spiritual and humble those of this ilk I met or became acquainted with were, they all had an ego, some larger than others, but they all had an ego. In the first couple of years of my Christian walk (though I now know how silly that was), I was troubled about that, to the point of being somewhat disillusioned and distracted, especially in the case of those who were famous or well-known.

As much as those who are earnestly attempting to emulate the life and nature of Christ endeavor to die to themselves and become of “no reputation” as Jesus did, I think we all pretty much are always going to be saddled with the bane, if you will, that when we get right down to it, we all have an ego. Though I’ve thought about it many times, I really still do not know how to reconcile some things about that. Does having an ego mean that we haven’t died to ourselves yet? Does having an ego mean we have not made ourselves of no reputation as Jesus did? Does God not want us to have an ego at all? Continue reading “Egotism and Narcissism in Ministry” »