Preachersnsneakers: Winning The World For Jesus
Preachersnsneakers: Winning The World For Jesus
Back in the day, the Christian community did not know Instagram. We had the likes of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker wanting to take the world for Jesus.
We’ve come a long way since Jim, PTL and Tammy Faye’s mascara. The modern Megachurch is attempting to amass new believers by reeling young people in. They’ve had to change their (business) model. As a result, young, hip pastors take the stage speaking the language of today’s millennials. It’s “hip” to be Christian in these circles. They quote rap songs, wear nose rings, have tattoos, they are ballers, they speak the lingo. They are young, beautiful and fashionably on point. Even the so-called “old guys” wear backwards baseball caps and ripped skinny jeans while preaching prosperity doctrine.
Enter Preachersnsneakers, an Instagram site that has garnered much chatter over the past few weeks and has blown up, literally, by accident. The site features many popular (they’re called “celebrity”) pastors donning pricey sneakers and designer shoes. We’re not talking just your normal, run-of-the-mill Adidas. We’re talking Yeezy, Gucci, Vintage, hard-to-find Jordans. Take a look. Let’s start with the Evangelical Gucci gang:
Faith Church, David Crank:
Teaching Pastor, Nathan Finochio of Hillsong Church:
Chelsea and Judah Smith, Hillsong:
Rich Wilkerson Jr. of VOUS church:
Mike Todd, Pastor of Transformation Church:
The founder of the site, who wanted to remain anonymous, started it as a fluke. In the quest to find a worship video from Elevation Church, he stumbled across a worship pastor there wearing some “serious heat”. As a sneaker fan himself, he started the account and garnered a few followers. That is, until, he posted this photo of Chad Veach of Zoe Church in Los Angeles:
Veach, friend of Justin Bieber and Chris Pratt, fired back when called out on the celebrity-pastor red carpet.
Wanna know what’s crazy? I legit did not pay for one thing i am wearing. Is that wild to you? That’s wild to me…thanks for the shoutout tho. You’re a blessing.”-Chad Veach
He did not pay for a thing, he says. Which begs the question in my mind…
The tawdry, tone-deaf display of these pastors and affluence sparked a conversation.
There are pastors out there wearing some serious heat. I started looking at more of these mega church pastors and realized they were wearing really recognizable shoes. So I started this account, and very quickly it turned into this big discussion.”-Creator of PreachersnSneakers
Now, I want to back up a second. I would like to say that I want to believe the best of these individuals. I want to believe they are in the Word every day. I want to believe their faith is strong. I want to believe they are doing good things for their congregations and their cities. I think they do have an anointing. I think they should be paid a decent salary. But, there is a fine line between Jesus influencer and Instagram fashion influencer that has been blurred over the years.
I also would like to say that I know it’s not my place to judge and that I am guilty. I love me some luxury items and as a human on this earth, I am a bit vain. The difference? My luxury was not given to me as a “gift” (with the exception of my dear spouse who works hard) and I have not been on a stage wearing it while telling others to die unto themselves, to take up their cross and contribute to my quest to win the world over for our Savior. Nobody needs a $700 pair of shoes to do that.
Last week, I mentioned in observation that the Megachurch of today has become more focused on posturing and appearances than actual relationship building. While I have enjoyed messages from Rich Wilkerson Jr. and Chad Veach, I see no depth in the stage selfies of them sporting expensive shoes that litter their Instagram accounts. Shoes, in some cases, that could be a church attendee’s mortgage payment or monthly rent. Shoes and clothing that some faithful “saints” and supporters couldn’t dream to ever afford after they write their 10% tithe check to the church to “win a city for Jesus”. Yet I see their loyal supporters making comments like “Yeah!”, “Come on!”, or my favorite-“Get it!” Seriously. Get what?!
I admit that seeing this site has been timely in my struggles with modern Christianity with regard to the megachurches of today. I exited out of the world of broadcasting years ago because of the colossal egos that plagued the industry and to see it in our churches is disappointing to say the least. We can call it lots of things but I think ego wraps it up nicely. Over the past year, my husband and I both questioned the transparency of the use of tithes. Because of this, our tithes have since gone elsewhere-to local food banks and to rescue missions in dire need of staying afloat. One mission sends us a card monthly of what our donation actually did to help a person who needed assistance. It means a lot to know that we helped a single mom pay her electric bill. It means nothing to me to see a pastor or his kids sporting Gucci on the golf course.
Loyal sheep are sometimes rebuked for asking such questions. I, myself, have been rebuked of a “critical spirit”. But the conversation is one worth having-and the question is worth asking-whose kingdom are they building? And why, are people so afraid to speak out about this? Really, Christians, is this Instagram image of the “on-fleek” pastor really doing anything to generate a love for an already despised religious denomination in our country and in our world? Some pastors will seek to demonize those who are critical of the showy displays with passive-aggressive bully pulpit tactics. It’s none of our business. Lest we be judged. But this has become the model for most aspiring megachurches. This has become the status quo and it needs to be challenged.
Pastors and supporters will say winning the city (or the world) for Jesus is a tough job. It ain’t “Yeezy”, after all. Their reality is tough. Bigger congregations mean bigger buildings, bigger mortgage payments, more judgement from the flock. We get all of this, we really do. But while attending reciprocal speaking engagements at other megachurches and rewarding the fruits of one’s labor with all of the trappings of a luxurious life, there are other realities lying beneath all of the hype. Loneliness. Addiction. Infidelity. Dysfunction. People who are utterly and completely lost. How does that look on Instagram?
What these pastors and the world need now is not another pair of Yves Saint Laurent shoes or $700 track pants to wear on display. They need a dose of humility, discernment, reality and bearing. They also need our prayers. They need to hang up the $2,000 microphone and get off the stage and the pulpit in their church or the church in whatever NON-third-world country they’ve traveled to and love on their inner cities in those expensive duds. Post THOSE pictures on Instagram and BE A BLESSING. That I’d like to see. Go ahead Insta-followers. Can I get a praise God? Can I get a “get it” or a “soooo good”. Can I get an AMEN?
Photo Credit:/FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic/Cropped