Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
While social media is often an unpleasant and unproductive thing, a robber of time and a dampener of spirits, one positive thing about it is that it can help identify those who are certifiably crazy while posing as Christian leaders. Without social media, I would likely have never known, for instance, that the Holy Spirit apparently tells preachers (or at least one particularly unhinged lunatic, Todd Bentley), to kick women in the face with his biker boot, punch men in the jaw, and leg drop another preacher.
Mind you, the schtick seems to work for him; he has a large and devoted following and is apparently doing quite well for himself.
I have no doubt that if there was email in heaven (which there is not; it is heaven, after all), the Holy Spirit would be sending out notes to everyone disavowing said nutcase.
Anyway, when I saw that video last week, along with other interesting items from the world of religion, it got me thinking about how mundane real Christianity is when it gets right down to it and how that is actually a very good thing. The attention-driven world may mock it as boring, but Jesus taught that the Holy Ghost would focus the attention on Christ, not on us, John 15:26.
Ministry hopping, using each church as a stepping stone to bigger and more prominent ministries, is a great way to garner attention. Jeremiah, though, simply stayed at his prophetic post for fifty to sixty years and through the hardest of times. That is a pretty good pattern and fits well with the instruction of 1 Corinthians 4:2 that a man be found faithful. A pastor that digs in and stays for decades probably will not become famous; a slow and steady ministry is pretty boring. But he will likely produce faithful, dependable disciples of Christ.
Preaching itself is another area in which flashy is not necessarily a good thing. When Paul was talking to the elders of the church at Ephesus for the very last time, he said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” He systematically taught them everything Scripture said. I am sure they would have been really fired up by some awesome stories of him kicking Pharisees in the face with his biker sandals, but, alas, he just taught them God’s Word. The Christians in Berea were proclaimed to be more noble than those in Thessalonica because they “searched the Scriptures daily.”
For any pastor who is reading this column, this really is key. Though you should certainly strive to never be dull when delivering the precious Word of God, nothing is more important than you carefully and thoroughly teaching your members what the Bible says, what it means, and how it applies to their lives. You may not garner as much of a following as people who supposedly punch people and play WWE in church, but when people are in the hospital in the middle of the night, scared and hurting, the Word that you have taught them will sustain them, while “leg drop the pastor” will not even register with them.
Prison ministry is not glamorous. I have spent a lot of time behind bars; fortunately, they have thus far always let me out at the end of the day. But there have never been camera crews waiting for me, begging for an interview and a description of all that went on. And yet, one of the last things Christ ever mentioned in Matthew twenty-five was how much he prizes it when we visit people in prison.
Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and tending to the homeless is also not going to gain a person or church a following unless you are one of the obnoxious twits that videotapes yourself doing it for the specific purpose of getting famous. But Christ spoke often of how much he values all of that as well.
And then there is the simple, mundane matter of living right each day. Things like getting up and going to work each day (2 Thessalonians 3:12), raising your own children right (Ephesians 6:1-4), being faithful to church (Hebrews 10:25), being faithful to your spouse (Hebrews 13:4), and being honest in all of your business dealings with those who are not saved (1 Thessalonians 4:12). I knew a very flashy, vocal, self-proclaimed believer some years ago that drew a crowd everywhere he went – and also was loathed by multiple local businesses that he had shafted through the years.
The point is, while really knowing and worshiping Christ is often an incredibly lively and exciting thing, the majority of the Christian life is not in the exciting moments; it is in the every day, all day dealings of life. And it is certainly not in the glory-seeking insanity of “what is the craziest thing I can possibly say or claim” religiosity.
Anyone can slip up and say or do something wrong along the way at some point. But if neither the local baker nor florist nor plumber nor mechanic nor waitress has figured out that you are a true follower of Christ, you probably aren’t, no matter how flashy you are.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner