It’s been a little over a year that I would admit to being called a “Facebook Preacher”. One who considers themselves called into a unique ministry that deals with the various personalities found on social media. With the rise of platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it seems like just about anyone can pursue a mission online. The problem is, not everyone should have an online ministry, let alone any ministry.
Now, I could make this argument and it could easily be read in a reverse engineered manner right back at me and somehow could be a piece on introspection and self reflecting. Someone could say, “you literally described yourself” and I would admit that the tendency to get accidentally lumped in with the lunatics is there and entirely possible. In fact I would argue that before my original Facebook Page The Dirty Christian was taken down, I was on a fast track to being what I am about to describe in this article.
Not everyone is meant to have a platform, and usually for those pastors and teachers that toil at the ministry, they submit to years of grueling hard work, low church attendance and little to no financial support. Yet, they rely on God to provide, and they barely scrape by. These men are worn and chiseled by arduous duty and sleepless nights. They are every bit deserving of the pseudo-notoriety they get for the preaching they do. Yet the others, those who appear successful, typically gain popularity for what others on social media gain it for, being a “bit off”.
These men and women are charismatic (not in the denominational sense), smooth talking, excitable balls of entertainment that initially attract attention through some type of extraordinary feat like offering Atheists money to disprove God or scaring Christians to believe coffee companies spend their marketing hours discussing how they can “hate Jesus just a little more”. These people are usually train wrecks, or are headed in the direction and many people simply climb on board for the entertainment. The problem is that the more they are talked about, the more they get discovered and then eventually amass a large following of “sheeple” -people that aimlessly follow them, regardless of what they say or do. Sometimes to the point of being blinded by their own idolatry.
Now, normally I would have no problem with a person amassing a following, except for the fact that some of these men and women proclaim to be Christians who are preaching the Gospel through scripture. Bear in mind that many who seek social media fame are typically the same people who would be barred from any orthodox church because of their lunacy. (Are you yet waiting to call me out?) With little to no formal training from an orthodox denomination, they can literally say or do whatever they want, and our weaker brethren would be none the wiser.
Anyone who is exciting, with a loud enough voice or fast enough speech pattern can get people interested to listen to them. This is why snake-oil salesmen and apothecary carts were so successful in the early days. Big tent revivals from a preacher who talked a good talk, promising healing, wealth and success were all the rage. Now the big tent is social media, and it’s much less policed by the mainstream church.
Now is where I come in. I am reminded much of Paul’s edification of Timothy in his first letter to the young pastor. He exhorts Timothy to fight against deception and heresy. Stand firm in the faith and to remember the calling in which he received from the Lord. Because of my military service I have never been able to plant my feet in one particular area for a long period of time. Every 3 years or so I have to move, which has had it’s own problems in the churches I attend. No Pastor can fully devote an eldership course for a guy who is here one minute and gone the next. He has a flock of people whom he will be around for many years, and I respect that. I know beyond a doubt I would be in elder training if I were not active duty. Because of that, and knowing my calling in Christ I am left to focus on ministry in any way I can, hence The Dirty Christian and all I do online.
There are days of jealousy where I feel like I should have more followers than those who speak to millions, but then I am reminded of the actual reflection of those people in church form. Mega-churches. Watered down places of worship in the religion of Niceanity and fluffy-ness. The Osteens and the Dollars, where people come in droves to hear of God’s “promises” for health, wealth and success. An easy ticket to Heaven. There is no discipleship or learning, their focus is on themselves. They don’t know Jesus there, mostly don’t. The leaders themselves are deceived, believing they are doing things in Jesus’ name. Much like those in the book of Matthew that Jesus said “depart from me, I never knew you”.
See, God is good, and greatly to be praised but God’s interests are His own, for His glory. God will bless whom He chooses, because He is God and He has set the world in order. If we happen to be one that God has decided to pour wealth onto, then to Him be the glory. That glory is for Him and no one else.
I will never become popular on social media, and I have come to be content with that. I won’t ever be able to find it in myself to put doctrine aside to please the ears of those listening. The truth is made to be offensive, not just to non-Christians either. When the Bible stops pointing out our flaws, we are either dead or apostate, and neither are desirable places to be. We should live in a state of conviction but not condemnation. These Facebook Preachers don’t offend anyone but those who already know the truth, that’s why they will remain popular, because they whisper into the itching ears of the masses. Therefore I will spend my days, warning those whom I can warn and denouncing the apostasy of the false teachers.