What does it take to be a popular pastor? Here’s a list….
1) Tell people that they are good people, who just have to work hard to overcome their own limitations by thinking positive thoughts about themselves and not negative ones and not letting any little set back get them down.
2) Tell people that God loves them just as they are; in fact he loves them so much that he could never send anyone to as awful a place as hell for eternity and that anyone who truly desires to be saved, whether they call their version of god…Allah, Elohim or Budda, will be saved.
3) Tell people that if they aren’t getting what they deserve in life it’s because their view of God is too small. (I realize this is just a reiteration of #1, but it really is just the same message in a different wrapper whenever you hear it)
4) Tell people that if we, as Christians, aren’t feeding/clothing/taking care of X PEOPLE GROUP, then we have no business preaching the gospel to them, or question their own salvation.
5) Tell people that anyone who didn’t believe in your vision, as a pastor, is nothing more than a hater/Pharisee/wolf etc.
6) Tell people that the mission of the church is to redeem the world.
7) Tell people that “deep” Christians aren’t the ones who read the Bible, but are the ones doing what the Bible says.
8) Tell people that God has a wonderful plan for their life.
9) Take a survey and find out what people want to hear and then tailor my messages to say exactly that.
10) Talk about crass things from the stage and call it being missional.
11) Tell people that Jesus will make their life better.
12) Never read the Bible, but talk about it and paraphrase it often.
13) Never call sin “sin” call it mistakes.
14) Always begin a message in an emotional fury and end it in a whisper.
15) Quote incessantly from pop-culture.
16) Have the audience repeat after you at least once a sermon.
17) Cry often during messages
18) Make sure there is background music for prayer.
19) Make sure your congregation stays out of the Bible by belittling anyone who says they want to go deeper into God’s word.
20) Make sure to include merchandise/book sales as part of the message, especially toward the end.
21) Tell people that if they don’t tithe a proper 10% then they aren’t good Christians and God can’t bless them/use them.
22) Cross-Promote other celebrity pastors, whether they are doctrinally sound or not.
23) Let people believe that the Bible is really little more than a glorified self-help book by strip-mining it for life application tips.
24) Read yourself into scripture as much as possible.
25) Take Bible verses out of context to make them say whatever you want them to.
26) Over emphasize God’s love-making sure to never mention His wrath.
27) Over-emphasis God’s laws, so people can feel like they are “making it” as a Christian.
28) Tell people that a church service is for the lost, not the saved.
29) Tell people that if they aren’t hearing God speak directly to their heart, they aren’t really saved.
30) Allegorize as many Biblical accounts as possible, but especially popular is the account of David and Goliath.
Obviously there are many more we could list; these are but a few ways to be a popular pastor. In our sinful nature there are four things we see wrongly that obscures our understanding of the Gospel: ourself/our sin, God, Jesus and the authority of Scriptures. If a pastor is doing very many of the things on this list he’s not helping his congregation get a better view of ourself/our sin, God, Jesus and the authority of Scriptures, in short he’s not acting as he is called to according to the Bible. Because according to the Bible the duty of the pastor is quite clearly laid out in scripture.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 1 Tim. 4:1-2
If your pastor is doing any of the things on this list, then you need to meet with him and ask him why. If your pastor is doing more than two of the things on this list then you need to find a new church…because you’re not hearing the gospel.