Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
Numbers are not important
The Bible gives us several stories where numbers are not important. He had Gideon to shave his army down from 35,000 to 300 so that God alone would get the glory. David got in trouble (I Chronicles 21) for numbering Israel so that he could know how many subjects were under his rule.(2 Samuel 24). The only time when number seemed to count was in the book of Acts, (2:47) where the Lord added to His church daily, and when 3,000 souls were saved. (Acts 2:41). Bragging on how many people attend your local congregation is not the point of Christianity. The focus is saving the lost. Unfortunately today many believers are caught up in megachurches and mega pastors, along with hipster preachers. Deeming a church as mega puts the emphasis on how many attend weekly service. Talking about the attire of the preacher puts the focus on him or her. While it is true that the Lord looks at our hearts, pastors should not stand in pulpits in clothing that has anyone concentrating on their physical body or attire. These things distract from the purpose of the saints which is to make disciples out of unbelievers. We are commanded to bein this world to let our lights shine for Him and not be of the world and carried away with every trend. The world likes numbers as everything today is about going viral.A record number if souls accepting Christ is what needs to go viral.
I have shared before how I was in two churches where focus was on the pastors and prosperity. One pastor died at a young age and the church now has only about one-tenth of the members it used to have. The second church shut down because all the members left. There have been numerous popular megachurch pastors who have gone to jail, been fired, forced to resign or even died and afterward members tell the tales of focus on the pastor, the building, and or being a millionaire. Recently Carl Lentz was fired from his position as pastor after admitting he had cheated on his wife. Lentz also hung out with entertainer Justin Bieber and was photographed in revealing attire alongside the singer. Lentz was considered a hipster pastor of a megachurch and now that life is over. This is not a judgment against Mr. Lentz but an acknowledgment that leaders are supposed to be humble servants. Lentz may have helped Bieber but I never heard of one person being saved by his attire. On the contrary, many were offended and thought it not proper for a man of God to be seen in public this way. There is a pattern of fallout coming each and every time the focus is on men and buildings instead of Christ. There is a reason Philippians 2:9 says
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, If anybody should be exalting the Name of Jesus it should be those who say they were called to preach His gospel.
Recently a young lady told me that she was shocked that Paula White-Cain said she called on African angels to help Donald Trump win the election. White along with _Pat Robertson said God told them Trump would win but he lost. The young lady said she had listened to Paula White on television and purchased her books and tapes. She now wonders if White has been off base all along and if she were in error for listening to her. Again, no disrespect intended but the Bible warns of wolves in sheep clothing and lying prophets. There are many in my opinion who started out preaching the simple gospel of salvation but have now turned it into something different. Once mighty soldiers in the army of the Lord are teaching things that are not biblical and they only do it because people continue to follow them. Scripture does not teach us to follow glamour, riches, megachurches, and hipsters. We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ, not the latest fad or trend. Far too many believers are enamored with pop culture and pop sugar messages that promise the good life if you follow certain principles. Once more Christians begin listening to the Holy Ghost, questioning false doctrine, and walking away from reprobate churches, it will cut down on the false prophets. What good is having 20,000 people in each service if only a small portion truly knows the Lord. What purpose is there for a pastor dressing like sinners when it causes more harm than good? When the focus is on Christ, the Holy Ghost will lead guide and direct and not popular culture. Focus must always be on Christ.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2020:
I am amazed at that top photo knowing that one of them is a pastor. I would never have guessed by looking at his attire.
Lakewood happens to be in Houston. We have quite a few megachurches in our city. In a couple of cases, the minister helicopters between his two megachurches to preach. Those churches have become big business operations.
Your points are well-taken.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 30, 2020:
You mke some good points in this article. It is not about the numbers or the money. I could not agree more.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on November 29, 2020:
We have been lucky that this trend has never taken of here. We have had issues with religious leaders for many other things. But most try to behave in the manner expected of them.