Faith

Are ‘Hot Pastors’ Hurting Today’s Churches?

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I came across an interesting article about ‘hot pastors’ who are causing some problems in today’s more contemporary churches.

Church has changed a great deal over the years. Staffing their ministry with so-called “hot pastors” may not be the first change that comes to mind, however.

Before I found the article, the biggest change I’d thought about — far too often — is the change in volume. I don’t mean the volume of attendees or even the volume of the worship building space.

I mean the volume of the worship music, which all too often sounds like a rock concert instead of a church service.

But writer Katelyn Beaty says churches also have a hot pastors problem. At first, she connects the problem with the recent firing of a megachurch pastor who apparently admitted to adultery. I know nothing about that case and I don’t really have any desire to discuss that part of the picture.

Beaty suggests such cases are a symptom of that bigger issue:

Today’s sexualized, glossy version of the megachurch pastor is calculated to replace the stereotype of a frumpy pastor in pleated khakis and a combover. With skinny jeans, tattoos and tight abs, the hot pastor is commissioned to bring souls to Jesus by mimicking the temptations of social media thirst traps.

Wow.

When I was a kid, pastors were never “hot.” They wore three piece suits. They dressed conservatively. And most of them seemed to be over the age of 50. With qualifications like those, “hot” would not be an adjective to come to mind.

But I’ve attended plenty of churches going for that “contemporary” feel. They do wear skinny jeans, one of the most ridiculous fashion trends since bell bottoms. Tattoos and tight abs are often part of the image, too, just as she described.

I don’t think that’s what Christ wanted.

I think it’s a shame that being “hot” somehow gives you bonus points from the stage. We can’t feign surprise by such a thing, of course. Our materialistic, camera-ready world certainly demands that everyone be attractive. The more attractive we are, society seems to suggest, the farther we’ll go.

That’s a tremendous lie, but those of us who don’t fall into the “hot” category can easily fall into believing the lie.

We can also find ourselves falling victim to the “inner circle” delusion. We feel more value when we’re “let in” to the inner circle of the hot pastor. And worse, we somehow feel we’ve “spiritually arrived” by their allowing our presense.

I’m sure that’s not what Christ ever wanted.

As Beaty points out, Jesus Christ Himself wouldn’t have fallen into the “hot pastors” category. She quotes the prophet Isaiah: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

Yet consider every portrait most of us have ever seen of Christ. He’s white-skinned, blue-eyed, handsome. He looks the part of someone we’d want to follow and be like. Even though, deep down, I think we all know that most people born in that part of the world don’t resemble white America. But white America certainly does not want to hear that.

As more and more churches attract younger crowds with slick presentations, they’ll only need more hot pastors. Pastors who’ll look hip and cool and try to attract more people just like them. Those who aren’t hip or cool? Well, sure, there’s room for them, too…just stow them away in the corners and keep the front rows full of pretty people.

Yes, I’m exaggerating. In fact, some of the hot folk don’t mind being around some of the frumpier among us. After all, that only makes them look that much hotter.

Go figure.

When you’re focused on your own appearance and projecting a physical image, how focused can you be on maintaining your spiritual image?

The Bible itself says man can’t serve two masters.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.