A person who simply gives up on many of the current stable of evangelical rock-stars is probably a happier person.
When I say "gives up on," I do not mean not supporting the things they do effectively and well for the Kingdom of God. As you will see, that would itself create a reality-disintegrating paradox. Rather, I mean try to stop caring too much. Don't waste your life on it, to coin a phrase. They probably won't change. Not happy to say that; driven to it reluctantly, truth be told. But there it is.
So let's hope for better things from NextGen. Actually, let's do more than "hope." I believe in always trying to do all that one can do to be proactive. And that is exactly what this post is about.
We have a lot of readers, and I think it's more than possible that a few of you Dear Readers will, one day, become first or second tier evangelical rock stars.
Yes, you. It's possible. You will be invited to big conferences. Publishing companies will approach you. When your books come out, they'll instantly be broadly reviewed, commended, chatted up, made the issue, brought into the discussion. You'll be interviewed and quoted. Your name will be known and respected by good folks, and hated by bad.
Let me tell you some things that I hope you'll remember. These are thoughts that the current tier probably won't hear from their cushioning phalanx of enablers and supporters... unless they have a friend that will point them to this post.
So: Whether or not you remember me when you come into your kingdom, remember this:
- Do not allow yourself to be surrounded with fanboys so eager to protect your ego that they will bitterly attack and mindread and heart-judge anyone who even seems to hint at a word of criticism of your majestic self, however solid that criticism might be.
- The principle of noblesse oblige is probably more Biblical and far-reaching than you think. So think again.
- Don't create a cozy, smug country club whose members are limited to the already-arrived.
- Don't use your fame to promote others to whom fame will mean the proliferation of harmful doctrines or examples.
- Do be the "rising tide" that "lifts all boats" who sail for the same King you sail for. Specifically:
- Don't seal yourself off from Lesser Beings.
- Don't hold yourself too lofty and too important to touch the rabble beneath you.
- Don't regard the rabble as "beneath" you in the first place. They're really not.
- Do use your influence to elevate those with a sound message and a small platform. For instance;
- Do comment on and point folks to smaller blogs.
- Do "follow" smaller Twitter accounts who serve the message you serve.
- Do retweet sound and on-target tweets from unknowns. (Wouldn't it be great if there were more prominent proclaimers of the truths you cherish and promote?)
- Do suggest small names of those who preach big truths well to conference organizers. When you accept, suggest that a "small name" be added to the rostrum. When you have to decline, recommend a "small name."
- When you screw up publicly — and you will, we all do — repent just as publicly. Godly leadership means not only showing people the God-honoring thing to do by doing it, but it also means showing fellow-mortals how to handle it when we fall short or afield.
- Leave none in doubt that you care infinitely more about the Gospel than any Coalition you might be part of.
- Listen to your critics. I don't say "obey" or "believe" them all; many have heads full of brawling alley cats. But do listen.
- Never ever allow yourself to be cocooned off from "commoners," whether in pastoral ministry (always visit, counsel, disciple "commoners," not just the strategically useful) or any other.