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June 21, 2011 / joelmalm

Philippian Superstar Dawgs

During my junior year at a Christian high school I was required to memorize the book of Philippians.  Right off the bat I had to memorize something that I never quite understood:

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry…out of selfish ambition, not sincerely…(1:15)

How on earth could someone preach the gospel out of ambition?  Ambition for what?  I never bothered to ask what that meant, but since I memorized it it has been floating around in my head for 15 years.

The longer I hang around the church the more I get what Paul was talking about.  There are lots of ‘Rockstar Preachers’ out there.  (See Pastor Clones)  Who’d have ever imagined that being a pastor could make you a superstar?   Trust me it happens.

There’s a fine line between discernment and judging the motives of one’s heart.  It’s tricky.  (So don’t judge me here as I proceed :))

Here’s the scary thing for me.  Lots of people mask their ambition by vociferously voicing this mandate: We need to reach more people for Christ!

I completely agree, we do need to reach people for Christ.  But I have found that can also be a very convenient excuse for building a larger personal audience.  Don’t get me wrong – I like big churches and have attended quite a few mega-churches.  But it is frightening how preaching the gospel can give you superstar status.

So I guess what I am saying is – be on your guard.  Like Paul says in Philippians, “Watch out for those dogs!”(3:2)  There are lots of pastors out there who get their ego stroked through preaching.  Pray for discernment and sit under the leadership of someone who isn’t in it for Superstar status.



Leave a Comment
  1. Tim Høiland / Jun 22 2011 9:23 am

    Great stuff, Joel!

    • joelmalm / Jun 23 2011 9:33 am

      Thanks Tim!

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