An Alternative to the Celebrity Pastor

Barton Gingerich: “The expectation that congregational leaders give off the ‘right vibe’ has become standard in some religious circles. Some churches today assert that a pastor should be an enthusiastic, extroverted purveyor of hilarity, therapy, success, or optimistic activism. These pastors are supposed to be casual, invested with ‘big dreams’ to do ‘big things for God,’ handy at enabling a good time during congregational worship, ‘innovative’ with outreach (i.e. the kids find the pastor sufficiently hip), and—perhaps most important of all—adept in the vocabulary of self-help and therapy. In other words, people want to feel good spiritually, and the pastor is to model that in his own life.”

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