Man of God Syndrome

By Steve Hill:

Thank you Steve Hill.

What are two marks of this man-of-God syndrome?

What does this have to do with the man-of-God syndrome? Everything.

A “syndrome” is a group of symptoms that characterize a particular abnormality. The man-of-God syndrome describes people who “think more highly than they ought” of their positions in the body of Christ.

These arrogant individuals are enamored by their perceived value. Unlike Jesus who made Himself of no reputation, they spend their lives making sure everyone knows their reputation.

This deadly disease affects the body of Christ worldwide. It’s in every congregation, denomination and church movement around the planet. Leaders are stuck on themselves…

When individuals infected with the deadly celebrity syndrome enter a room, they expect others to recognize their presence and pay homage. They desire front-row or platform seats and are visibly disturbed when not given the red-carpet treatment they desire….

The world is waiting for men and women of God who are more concerned about how they appear to Christ than how they appear to the crowd. People are longing to find leaders who are stuck on helping sinners rather than stuck on helping self. They are fed up with our slick self-promotion; glitzy, eye-popping Internet, TV and radio spots; and high-gloss, self-exalting magazine, newspaper and poster ads that elevate man rather than exalt Jesus.

Some leaders have gone so far as to hire Hollywood ad agencies and secular image consultants so they’ll appear one notch above other ministers. Of course there’s nothing wrong with advertising an evangelistic meeting, a ministry or a church. But many have gone too far….

According to Jesus, a person who wants a ministry of mighty things must be willing to do menial things. Menial things are insignificant things that are done in secret when no one is shining a spotlight on you. You’re just busy doing something for the Lord.

Jesus spent His life serving. He washed His disciples’ feet. He cooked them breakfast after the resurrection. Jesus served.

If you want to achieve success and climb to a place of great elevation in the Lord, then look down. Don’t pass up the insignificant tasks, especially those that nobody but God can see.

There’s a new generation coming up, and I’m going after them. I want to raise up men and women who will get their model for life and ministry from the Word of God and the life of Jesus.

Their modus operandi will be to serve rather than be served, and their lives and ministries will be characterized by holiness, humility and a heartfelt love for people. I pray that God uses them in greater ways than He has used any other minister who has graced this planet—and that He preserves them from the deadly man-of-God syndrome.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Susan_G1

    Love this message! However, sufferers of the man-of-God syndrome don’t get there by themselves. They are placed in positions of authority over many by those who are not as familiar with Scripture as they should be, or who are content to let these men do their thinking for them. Some want to bask in the reflected ‘glory’, and will not point out ungodly behavior lest they fall with them. Many must share the blame. It says something about all of us.

  • Nate

    Amen. Thank you Steve Hill. Only one rock star in the kingdom…and it ‘aint any of us.

    http://offthepath.wanderprone.com/2012/10/only-one-rock-star.html

  • RachelMarieStone

    I really like this. There is probably woman of God syndrome, too, though.

  • metanoia

    As a general rule I shy away from articles that paint with broad brushes. There is a flip side to this phenomena that doesn’t fit the stereotype. I’ve had the privilege of being around some men who wear the label of “man of God” with great humility. It is a reminder to them that they represent the Kingdom and the Ruler of the Kingdom. It is a sobering thought for them to stand behind a pulpit and have the “audacity” to claim to speak as representatives of the King. The are driven to prayer, fasting, doing deeds of righteousness, going the extra mile, and being willing to suffer for the cause because they are “men of God.” While I understand that we live in a celebrity culture, I think it is important that we qualify our words to insure that we don’t wrongly label all “men of God.” The article does address what I am describing, but in my estimation comes across in a way as to suggest that these men don’t exist. or at least that there aren’t many of them. My experience would suggest that the pastors and other leaders who are the filling typical pulpit and are recognized by their congregations as “men of God” far outnumber the over publicized stereotype that Steve Hill is calling out.

  • Phil Miller

    I am trying to hold my tongue here, and I don’t want to say anything that could be taken as malicious. But given the author of this article, I find it very ironic. I was in the AoG when the “Brownsville Revival” was happening, and it seems to me that much of what Hill is speaking out against here ended up being promoted in one way or another during that period. Now, I don’t question his motives, nor do I think that everything that happened then was a scam. I just think the whole idea of revival became such a focal point back then that it ended up creating a whole new wave of celebrity pastors and worship leaders (worship leaders especially).

  • KentonS

    Phil Miller-

    Brownsville was a loooong time ago, yes? Any possibility he’s speaking now as one who is intimately familiar with what he’s speaking about and this is a part of repenting of something he was once a part of?

    To be fair, I don’t know a whole lot about what has happened to Steve in the last couple of decades, but these words need to be said by somebody regardless of how many cracks are in their vessel.

  • Phil Miller

    The Brownsville revival was a long time ago, but Hill was still traveling the revival circuit up into the early 2000′s. I’m not saying it’s a bad message, or that he couldn’t have a change of heart – I hope he did! I just find it kind of ironic. Steve Hill and some of the other pastors at Brownsville essentially turned the Brownsville revival into a traveling roadshow of sorts.

  • Kandace

    Kind of like Paul who went back and preached the gospel to those he once persecuted. Many were unsure and still frightened. (understandably so) But I don’t want to be a doubter. I want discernment but not fleshly judgment. I want to believe, not foolishly, but hopefully.

  • residentoftartarus

    Methinks this preacher is suffering from “man-of-God syndrome:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSJt-LHMNRY


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