There are lots of well-known Christians in today’s media, internet and popularity – driven culture who are now household names. I’m not one of them and quite thankful about that.
Now to be fair, many of them didn’t ask for their fame, status or iconic status and like me, might prefer they didn’t have it. Some of it came with the territory (or perhaps after reading The Prayer of Jabez.)
Nonetheless, it’s seems important to first realize the inherent perils of even religious notoriety and if possible give serious consideration to avoiding more popularity. Why? What’s the problem with being a big name?
First, you start becoming an expert on certain topics or even THE voice for much of Christianity. People start saying ____________ (you) said instead of Jesus said. Some start believing your way, your church, your ministry, your latest I just discovered concept, your video is the answer that Christians have been missing all these years. Do you attend conferences? Do you keep seeing many of the same experts speaking at them? I do.
Second, your followers keep asking for more. They want the next book, blog post, conference message, brilliant outline, word or concept that will keep them excited about their faith until you or someone comes up with the next one. They want to hear your stats – how many books you sold, people came to Christ, churches were started or concerts you had this year. It’s a black hole that your groupies started and which may never end.
Third, you can’t mess up. Now I’m not condoning that we in ministry should be able to stray and have it overlooked or come without consequence. But when you’re famous, every action is evaluated, compared and examined by those who think you should be comparable to Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. And even the smallest chink in your armor may show up in People or Christianity Today.
You know what I’d rather be and do with my life? I want to merely be someone who influences others to be more like Christ. But there are no numbers associated with my wish. Could I become famous? I suppose so though my wife prays against that most of the time.
But if I’m content with influencing and impacting smaller numbers, one at a time or maybe a few hundred through my speaking, blogs or small books on family, then I won’t be so driven to try to find out how there can be more.
Granted, some will say that if I have more potential I should seek it. But perhaps we’ve forgotten that potential is often beyond our understanding or view. Could it be that touching and influencing just one person could have the same potential as someone who speaks to or writes for thousands has? I think so.
So rather than seeking fame go after influence and impact. Being famous could still be the result and if so handle it well. Stay humble. If you don’t, then instead of gaining notoriety you may just end up notorious.