Preachersnsneakers: Winning The World For Jesus

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:

View this post on Instagram

Rich Wilkerson Jr with the Ye’vangelicals

A post shared by PreachersNSneakers (@preachersnsneakers) on

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…

Who did?

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

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  • TomT says:

    To quote Ray Stevens, “Would Jesus wear a Rolex on his television show”?

  • Joe in PNG says:

    It’s the modern megachurch version of gold, silk, ermine, and jeweled vestments- just without the class.

    And when did high fashion go so tacky?

  • Jesus had a lot to say about finances.
    Once He talked about three guys who were given money to invest and how they invested it. The criticism was on their choices of investing the money they were entrusted with based on return on investment.
    I believe in researching my Kingdom investments and their ROI.
    I don’t think Paul would be caught dead in bling whether it was a gift or not.

    • GWB says:

      No, the criticism was NOT on how they invested their master’s money. It was solely on doing something with it. And ROI had NOTHING to do with it. Note the master complains “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.” That certainly wouldn’t have been as good a return as the others obtained – but it would have been something. He wanted some return, but it was the fear that turned to inaction and a spoiling of the opportunity that he was critical of.

      I agree, however, that we should look for places where our seed is not eaten up by bureaucracy and flash and self-promotion. That is shallow soil.
      (And I concur about Paul – and the other apostles.)

  • windbag says:

    Wow, where to begin? Some scattered thoughts that popped up while reading this:

    There’s nothing inherently holy about poverty. There’s nothing inherently diabolical about wealth.

    I taught at a small Christian school years ago. $300 a week. No benefits. At the time my mother-in-law worked for a department store, and was a top salesperson. Back in those days, salespeople had quotas for the various brands–Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, etc. When they met the quotas, they received merchandise. Our entire family wore a lot of trendy, high-priced (for us, anyway) clothes. One day at that small school, someone criticized me for wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothes all the time. I laughed.

    For years now, my tithe has gone to my sister-in-law, who has been a missionary in Central America for over 35 years. She needs it more than any local congregation saving up to pave the parking lot.

    We used to attend a church, until I received a call from the Pastor one day. We had forgotten to write a tithe check for a few weeks, and that very morning my wife and I mentioned to each other that we needed to remember to catch up that Sunday. That afternoon when he called, the pastor began the conversation with “Is there something wrong with our church that you don’t tithe here? I’ve noticed you haven’t contributed in quite some time.” Wow. Guess where we never contributed ever again?

    I understand that people want to remain relevant to the people they’re trying to minister to, but there’s a point where you try too hard to justify pursuing the things of this world with that excuse. Are they selling an image or trying to reconcile people to God?

    Despite us–and through us–God moves. Go figure.

    • GWB says:

      Sorry, windbag, but (with only this information to go on), your move of not donating to your local congregation because they noticed you had been forgetting is a very self-centered one. You were (evidently) faithful givers, who had suddenly become a dry well. I think it behooves a pastor to ask “is there something wrong?” It’s how he might identify a problem to which he was blind.
      If you had more issues with the church than that, you should either work to change the situation or go elsewhere. If not, then I would humbly submit that you should not muzzle your ox (your pastor, that is). 1 Timothy 5:18

      • windbag says:

        I didn’t give the full story, just the highlights. Trust me, it was a bad situation. Sorry, but you don’t know me, so to call me self-centered is [insert any number of adjectives]. If he had begun the conversation with “Is everything all right? Did you lose your job? What’s wrong?” that would be a different story altogether. Beginning with the assumptions indicated by his line of questioning, it’s clear that his concern was not with our well-being. And, no, I don’t intend to fill in the rest of the story. Just because you jumped to conclusions and pre-judged me and my motivations, doesn’t require a defense on my part. And as long as we’re tossing scripture about, try out Proverbs 18:13.

        • GWB says:

          I am willing to stand corrected based on not knowing the whole story. I stated that upfront.
          Sorry, but if you don’t give the whole story, then that Proverbs verse doesn’t really apply. (And, you posted the story as evidence of how to interact. I responded to that. It’s difficult to support “yes, you should have acted that way” given what information you did disclose.)

          I do have one more question based on some snark you tossed out with your original comment: do you park in that parking lot?

          • windbag says:

            You did say ” but (with only this information to go on)” then proceeded to jump to conclusions that allowed you to flex your sanctimony. In short, you admitted that you didn’t have the whole story, then judged the matter. Sorry, but that pretty much invites the “fool” designation that Proverbs sets forth.

            The point of the story was that our tithe can go other places, especially “churches” that aren’t worthy of our confidence and are failing to do the work of the Church. You can include your interpretation, but my intent was what I just stated. I don’t have a problem with your having another perspective, but that doesn’t make your accusations stemming from your assumptions valid.

            Finally, I was 100% serious about paved parking lots. No snark intended (or implied). You might need your discernment meter calibrated, because you’ve pretty much missed the target on everything I’ve written.

            Have the last word if you care to, but I’m done here.

            • GWB says:

              I’m sorry you simply saw accusations against yourself, windbag. I don’t see myself as “judging the matter” but judging the elements you set forth. Because you asked us to draw conclusions from that. That’s what you do when you “make a point”.

              As to our tithes going other places…. Well, that was my point with the parking lot statement. If you are (generic ‘you’ here and following) a member of a given congregation, and you take the time to partake of worship there, or programs, then you have an obligation to help support that congregation if you have the means.
              Giving your tithe (in the sense of your primary giving) somewhere else means you’re not supporting the work of your church, which is taking and not giving. If you don’t support your congregation with your giving, then it’s difficult to see how it’s not a selfish act. How is the church supposed to pay its bills and maintain its property and staff without your giving?
              Giving to missionaries and other other charities is above and beyond our contribution to paying the operating expenses of our local congregation (though I think it certainly can be part of your literal tithe).

              Again, if someone has problems with the church (and money-grasping is a real enough problem) gross enough that they would stop giving, then I would hope they either left that church and supported a new local congregation wherever they went, or they fought to return a Biblical point-of-view to the first church’s leadership.

              Perhaps I should have written that, instead of what I did.

  • GWB says:

    But, there is a fine line between Jesus influencer and Instagram fashion influencer…
    Huh, I would say there’s no such thing as a “Jesus influencer”. Except the Holy Spirit. You cannot sell Jesus. You can only show Him to others and let the Holy Spirit do the work.

    I also would like to say that I know it’s not my place to judge
    Are you a Christian? Then it is absolutely your place to judge. Pastors/priests don’t get a pass because they are “anointed” or “properly educated”. And we, as a body of believers, are supposed to correct our brothers and sisters in the faith.
    Now, how you judge is important. It’s done in love and with a desire to return them to the true faith. It requires that you read Scripture yourself and learn to “divide” it properly – which doesn’t require a divinity degree to do (the most prominent apostles were fishermen fer cryin’ out loud!), but prayerful reading and having godly friends to walk with you on that path.

    Nobody needs a $700 pair of shoes to do that.
    Well, honestly, nobody needs a $700 pair of shoes*. Period. The only reason for them (especially some of those horribly ugly monstrosities you posted above) is to flaunt your wealth and mark your status. Ironically, if that’s your goal, you – as a shepherd of Christ – should be wearing nothing but sackcloth (or maybe a camel hair shirt and a rope for a belt). Because the whole point is that your status is as a beggar before the Holy Son of God, whose (ironically) sandals you are not fit to tie.

    (* OK, maybe an astronaut. Or a race car driver – ’cause Nomex is expensive. Or maybe some others for doing their jobs. But not to wear on a stage or hanging in the airport or walking to your office job.)

    that could be a church attendee’s mortgage payment or monthly rent
    Or, could be a church’s mortgage. Maybe, if someone donates this sort of stuff to you, you could hold an auction and get some rich folk to swap you money for them, then you could donate that money to a struggling church, or put some more rice on the shelves of a food pantry, or run a homeless mission.

    We can call it lots of things but I think ego wraps it up nicely.
    Yes. Pride is the FIRST SIN, that engenders all others. Eve’s thought of “I would be like God” started it all, and is still the foundation for every sin. “What does God know?” Heck, it’s even the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me – not even yourself.

    my husband and I both questioned the transparency of the use of tithes
    Wow. If your church’s budget isn’t totally, absolutely open to ALL, then it is in violation of standard church business practices. I would also suggest the pastor or the lay leadership is authoritarian and should be thrown out by the brothers and sisters of that church for their arrogance and presuming to usurp the authority of Christ.

    I, myself, have been rebuked of a “critical spirit”.
    Then I guarantee that your church is NOT following Christ, but a man. And one who is – at a minimum – in danger of leading you astray from the path of Christ. You need to leave that church immediately for one with a humble pastor, who knows his place as a fellow sinner and grace-captured saint who is your brother not your master.
    (Though, you do have a critical spirit. Welcome to the club of sinners. This group of sinners has potlucks, though.)

    It’s none of our business. Lest we be judged.
    Bullcrap. See above.
    (BTW, that “lest ye be judged” bit leaves out an important point: “in the manner in which you judge, you will be judged.” If you judge with a heart toward God, in the desire to promote Christ and His salvation, to return the lost sheep to Him, and to drive Satan away from His flock, then you’ll be doing pretty well at the Last Day. I have it on good authority.)

    Their reality is tough. Bigger congregations mean bigger buildings, bigger mortgage payments, more judgement from the flock.
    Baloney. You don’t need a bigger congregation. Jesus needs a bigger flock (He wants all of us, ideally), but as long as the church the new convert attends preaches salvation by grace and Christ crucified for our sins, we’ve won. The body of Christ would be much better served by a godly church in every neighborhood than by a single giant church in the middle of the city. The body of Christ would be much better served by millions of mediocre pastors bringing souls to Christ’s congregation than by a single celebrity under the spotlights.

    People who are utterly and completely lost.
    This. If your focus is not on saving the lost and equipping the found, then your priorities are wrong.
    If you have to decide between the $350 sneakers and the $500 loafers when you get dressed to go to church, you’re doing it wrong.

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