Pastor: You are not a CEO nor a Celebrity

A concerning trend over many years in churches has been this idea to elevate the lead pastor to a Celebrity-CEO like business position, creating an almost untouchable, celebrity-like culture around the pastor.


Look, I get it. Many churches have thousands of members and million dollar budgets. The pastor is not going to be able to invest in everybody’s life, other than what he does publicly. Also, the pastor is going to lead a public life just because of the nature of leading thousands of people.

But here is the issue guys: a CEO or a celebrity is deliberately elevated in a company or in society. Whereas, a pastor should deliberately humble themselves in their church and community. We need to grow past this place of super-human pastors and leaders because an education, a gift to lead, and a nice vision does not make someone beyond reproach or correction or checks of power.

I keep seeing the stories of pastors publicly falling and it breaks my heart. Whether they destroyed people around them with their domineering style or fell due to a moral failure we need to step back and assess a church culture that allows and encourages CEO and Celebrity pastors.

Here are some principles to follow:

No Leader is any more important to God than the last person in the door

This is crucial to remember. There is this aura of importance around Celebrity-CEO type pastors. They are not accessible at all in many cases. But to God the gifted, dynamic, blessed with a vision leader’s soul is not any more important than anyone else in the church. We must not let this destructive ideal continue to fester in our churches.

No Leader is infallible

As we have seen with falls from grace and moral failures, leaders, no matter how dynamic will mess up. But beyond that no matter how gifted the leader is they can have bad ideas, they can have bad principles or philosophies.

This idea that just one person is best skilled and positioned to assess everything in the church is pretty bogus. No matter how gifted you are and how grand your vision is you have to learn to delegate and defer to people who are smarter than you on some issues.

The Very idea of a leader being a celebrity runs counter to a pastor’s role

As I mentioned earlier a celebrity is deliberately elevated in society, sometimes almost to a point of worship. A pastor should humble himself to a place of modeling an attitude Jesus took while he was on Earth. Jesus went to the cross and died for all humanity. He humbled himself to the highest place. He was not leveraging to get more and more power.

As Much as we try to fuse the lines the principles of the Business world run counter to Jesus

Paul tells the Corinthians that God’s wisdom is  foolishness to the world. So sure, you can implement all the world’s business principles that you want into church leadership but many of those principles have been designed to advance companies and individuals in a way that allows them to build as much Earthly power and wealth as they can. Jesus did not compile Earthly wealth and power.


Maybe this principle does not apply to you where you are at right now. But it is something you need to be aware of. Our churches need a culture shift: a culture shift that instead of elevating leaders onto a towering pedestal instead the leader humbles himself in front of the staff, congregation, community, and most importantly God.

Written by Joe Hoagland

Joe is a pastor at Rise Church in Marion, Oh. He is married to his awesome wife Jenna and they have one daughter Aryella.

He loves to lead people to Jesus and preach God's word.

You can often times find Joe hiking, camping, writing, reading, or enjoying technology.


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