On August 1, 1981 a significant cultural shift occurred as MTV launched by showing their first music video: Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. Culturally, music moved from an almost strictly audio venue to one that included video. No longer was an audio track sufficient; a creative (or at least corny) video was needed to keep up and compete in the world of music television. Thirty years later another significant cultural shift has occurred- the Internet pastor.
Francis Chan, David Platt, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, and Matt Chandler. With just a few keystrokes or mouse clicks anybody with Internet access can watch hundreds of sermons by these and many other popular pastors or download their many books. As an unfortunate result, we may sit in church on Sundays comparing our pastor to the teaching styles of these men. Critiques may sound something like:
- “Francis Chan would have used a great object lesson to illustrate that point"
- “Driscoll would have gotten much more fired up about that”
- “Dr. MacArthur would have never used so many stories”
- “Matt Chandler would have inserted a pithy comment right there”
- “Does he really even care for the lost? David Platt would almost be crying if he made that statement”
And the list goes on. Because our local pastor’s podcast probably won’t be listened to by more than a few of the congregants or write best seller books- we can dismiss him as sub-par compared to the other guys. The Internet has “killed” the local pastor. Fellow Christians, this cannot be!
Our local pastors have been given a tremendous responsibility to shepherd their local congregations (1 Peter 5:1-3). Instead of comparing them to our favorite Internet pastors, we need to:
- Praise the Lord that they faithfully and accurately teach the Word of God each week.
- Be thankful for their everyday pastoral care for the local congregation: counseling, weddings, funerals, hospital visits, etc.
- Encourage them to continue “raising the bar” for the congregation to become Great Commandment and Great Commission Christians- engaging a lost world for Jesus Christ!
- Come along side them as the body of Christ- serving in the mission and ministries of the church. It is everybody’s responsibility to share the Gospel and make disciples, not just theirs.
I am so thankful for the pastors in my church: Pastor John, Pastor Gary, Pastor Dave, and Pastor Ben. I have learned much from them and it is a joy to serve alongside them. May I never take them for granted, unfairly compare them to popular Internet pastors, and strive to make their ministries a joy.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be no advantage to you.
For the record, this video has never been cool, rad, or awesome