Fame is dazzling. The notion of it. The feel of it. The desire for it. The pursuit of it. One must only look into the world for a moment to see that society obsesses over it like nothing else. Internet fame, movie fame, business fame—you name it, they want it. Without Christ, what else is there? If this truly is their best life now, shouldn’t those without Christ try to gain all they can out of life before the end comes? It is the logical conclusion to their plight. However, what does not make logical sense is how this epidemic has crept into the Church and found a home within our pews, our homes, and our hearts. This desire to acquire fame and to laud those who have acquired it is prevalent within the Church today. Just as Israel wanted a king to look like the rest of the nations, I believe we as Christians enjoy having our celebrities, just like the rest of society does. Perhaps it gives us a feeling of validation, importance, or perhaps something deeper: pride.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the faithful men and women that have given their lives to the Church. Pastors, speakers and authors have all had a tremendous influence on my life, and I believe those influences have been for my good. The Lord has used these individuals to shape me and mold me into the Christian that I am today. Let me be upfront here—I am just as guilty as anyone of standing in line to get the pictures and the autographs of the “celebrity pastors”. There is nothing wrong with this per se, however, I think there is a danger lurking in the corner. With all the Christian celebrities and conferences and seminars, we risk forgetting how the Church was built. There is a danger for us a Christians to forget our roots and forget the types of people that the Lord primarily used to build His Church here on Earth. The Church was built on the backs of faithful men and women with gritty hands. These individuals were not at all glamorous. They did not have suits, conferences or blue checks. They did not have the fame or the Twitter followers. They would not have thought of fame as something to pursue. They understood how to work and how to bring God glory in that work. They were fishermen, carpenters, tent makers and blue collar workers. These blue collar theologians are lost to us in our present day. We get so caught up in the glitz and glamour that we forget what truly builds the Church of Christ. It is the men and women who are doing His work in the fields, the factories, the construction sites. They are the plumbers, the electricians, the contractors, the nurses, the mothers, and the mechanics. The men and women who put in their forty plus hours, come home, love their families and love their God. They are the ones building the Church.
Again, please do not misunderstand me and conclude that I believe that mainstream pastors and speakers are not building the Church. Of course they are. They are faithful Christians doing what the Lord has given them to do. We must only be careful not to hold them in higher esteem than a man who has not been given the large platform. This man is fulfilling the work the Lord has given him just as much as the celebrity pastor. We must remember that the Church was not glamorous in its beginnings. We must not forget those that the Lord has called to work out of the spotlight. This is where the relationships are formed and sustained, the conversations are had and where the Gospel is truly applied. It is in the trenches that the hard work is done. Where the blood and tears are spilt. Where the hands get dirty and the body becomes weary. Yet it is here where we see the change. It is here we see most clearly the work of Christ in the hearts of men. Although the famed pastors and authors bring with them a level of excitement, I now prefer to sit here in the trenches with my fellow brothers and sisters. I prefer not to worry about followers, pictures, autographs or blue checks. I have found much more enjoyment in looking for the blue collar theologians and learning from them and their example as I admire their gritty, faithful hands.