I thought I had heard everything from the church growth crowd. I really did.
First, there was the celebrity pastor.
That was bad enough.
Now, there’s the celebrity pastor plagiarizer.
I am not making this up.
Rocky Mountain Church is a new aspiring megachurch in Woodland Park, Colorado. So far, their strategy has been to have fun “worship” music and watch a YouTube video of a hip celebrity pastor. Now, they’re upping their game.
According to their website and a now-removed church-staffing.com ad, they are seeking a dedicated preacher who will copy the sermons of other bad, well-known preachers. I owe a big shout out to the brilliant and talented Stephanie Drury of Stuff Christian Culture Likes for bringing this to my attention.
From the churchstaffing.com ad:
Rocky Mountain Church is looking for a pastor who teaches like Craig Groeschel or Andy Stanley or even a bit like Steven Furtick [JA: First mistake, because all three of them are terrible].
This offer is going to be nothing like any other church job post. Woodland Park, Colorado is asleep because the churches are asleep [JA: or maybe because it’s freaking cold up there]. People are hungry but the spiritual food in the churches here are without flavor or life. The pastors are beautiful people and have good hearts but we need some Blockbuster Sermons (BlockbusterSermons.com [JA: BlockbusterSermons.com is a yet-to-be-launched website which will, I’m guessing, feature some of this new pastor’s Blockbuster Sermons.]).
When you watch a sermon from Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley or Steven Furtick, you feel like you were fed. [JA: Oh, I feel like I was fed, all right, but Patheos won’t allow me to use the language that would be required to tell you WHAT I was fed.] Why can’t we have that in church without playing videos from the above pastors?
Here is our concept. If a worship leader can take a song from Chris Tomlin and play it just like the album and that is 100% accepted in the church why can’t you, as a pastor, copy or do word per word of a sermon from Craig Groeschel and add 10% of your own style to do it just like the band does. [JA: Another bad idea, because Thris Comlin is terrible.] This concept would work great mixed with your own sermons about 20% of the time. [JA: This reminds me of the great quote from Paul Rudd in Anchorman, “Fifty percent of the time it works every time!”]
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU by Max Lucado. [JA: Okay, somebody, what in the freaking world?]
Meaning let’s give Blockbuster Sermons to the people. Proven messages or hit sermons then add 20% of your own sermons.
If you can connect with this concept then please send us your resume. We would love to talk with you.
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Extra Notes: We have everything needed for the church except the pastor. We have a great praise team. We have funds for advertising and more. Your salary is 90% of the tithes and offerings for 1 year [JA: !] to sustain you and we will pay all the bills. Year 2, 3, and 4 you will get 50% of the tithes and offerings. A five year contract.
Sorry we can’t pay your relocation fee. Will explain more on the phone.
Okay, so if I’m understanding this correctly, here is a good example of what they want from their pastor, or maybe we should him Senior Sermon Stealer.
If you cannot preach like Steven,
If you cannot pray like Craig,
Just steal one of their sermons,
And preach that one instead!
More from the church website:
Did you know there are 40 writers in the Bible who were inspired by God and moved by the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. So why would we only read out of one book in the Bible? With that being said, why would we also put ourselves in a box by only listening to one pastor?
You will NOT find any one pastor that has the complete set of tools in his or her toolbox. Just like the Bible was not written by just one person. Every pastor has their gifting and every pastor leads accordingly. At Rocky Mountain Church, we choose the best sermons from different pastors around the world like Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel who are two of the top, most well-known speakers in the world, and they have the gift to bring that specific topic/message to life. When you watch their video sermons and more from pastors like Andy and Craig, you will be convinced that these are literally “Blockbuster Sermons!”
Rocky Mountain Church was inspired with this vision and we believe that this is a great and effective way to fill our hearts and our lives with God’s Word.
Okay, now, seriously. Where to begin with this Pastor-Poacher nonsense?
I could mention that there’s a word for what they’re suggesting. Plagiarism. Plagiarism is generally considered a bad thing, for some unknown reason.
I could bring up the fact that, as much as I loathe CCLI, that’s what makes it legal for the church’s house cover band to basically copy all of Thris Comlin’s and Hillsong’s et al. crappy music. As of today, I don’t think there is such a thing for recruiting a Minister of Mimicry borrowing sermons from the likes of Pastor-CEOs Craig “Fast Food Preacher” Groeschel, Andy “Take Your Kids to a Megachurch” Stanley, and Steven “I Live In a Mansion” Furtick.
I could talk about how good preaching by definition is crafted and delivered, not as some sort of headlining act in an entertaining jesusy performance, but as an offering, given to and for the people whom the pastor serves.
And there’s that little thing about how the word “pastor” comes from the Latin and means “shepherd.” It’s pretty hard to tend the flock if you’re copying celebrity shepherds, who don’t even tend their own flocks.
I could also say that, though this example will likely not catch on, because, you know, it’s shady and dishonest, it’s yet another step into the dangerous church culture begun by the megachurches.
But I digress.
I think Rachel S. Garcia had the perfect response on the SCCL thread when she posted this, properly attributed, of course:
When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us … So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Photo: YouTube screenshot