It was bound to happen. Social media has thrown up on itself and people are sick of the curated highlight reel. We want realness.
Churches are no different. They are filled (or not, lately) with the same people who hold accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and now Clubhouse.
This new(er), invite only social media app is the startup world’s answer to our overindulgence in comparison, addiction to likes, and failure to actually connect with those we “follow”. Like an old school party line, the app is essentially an audio-only “hallway” filled with different “rooms” you can explore and re-learn the sacred art of conversation.
Conversation… Something church leaders have sacrificed on the altar of self worship and quest for celebrity.
Some who propose to be faith leaders, and some who actually are, have already made their way into the sought after online community. Many celebrities, most recently to include Elon Musk , are on the app just being themselves. One of my favorite little communities has been the ✨ Late Night Grind ✨ with Sam Collier, lead pastor of Hillsong Atlanta.
Sam has done something well that I doubt I will see from many more pastors, especially in the larger churches. He has been accessible.
You can enter his room, raise your hand, contribute and ask questions. I was even asked to lead prayer one evening. I attended a large (though nowhere near Hillsong large) evangelical church in Fredericksburg, Va and served faithfully for years. Not ONCE was I asked sporadically by the lead pastor to pray. I couldn’t even get mentoring or martial counseling we needed.
We have allowed, for too long, our churches to be turned into industrialized organizations that thrive on capitalism and reward the strongest personalities with worship in the forms of greater attendance and, ultimately, unwarranted financial gain.
We have failed to see the glory of God in the faces of one another because we have all been staring at the show and the ringleader. It’s a glorified, spiritualized circus. No wonder we are so divided. We don’t even know the person we sit next to in church anymore.
Not to compare a huge church gathering to an app, but they are both communities in their own right so I think we need to dissect this further.
We need to be honest about the fact that, as much as your celebrity pastor will tell you not to “compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel”, they have curated their own and it has extended beyond the online space. Many maintain an aura of mystery and inaccessibility… and many do it on purpose.
Simply put they aren’t practicing what they preach. In simpler terms, that can be referred to as hypocrisy or lying. Choose your term, but what we can’t afford to do is keep covering for them.
Personally, I’m excited to see this Clubhouse app disrupt the social media scene and the church. I’m thrilled to see how we can return to simplicity and be common to one another again. I don’t see how the church’s current obsession with fame can transition to this new space… and I’m excited that it likely won’t.
How will these celebrity pastors feel about being around real people again? What happens when the social media teams they hired don’t get to post pictures and quotes and those pastors have to actually show up and speak? What happens when they have to be a part of the community?
I’ve had recent interactions that haven’t been too reassuring. Some have lost touch so much that they don’t even know how to be around regular local pastors anymore, much less everyday people not of their vocation. I pray for pastors like this.
I am certain of one thing, when you hear a person’s voice without the fanfare, it is much harder for them to pull the wool over your eyes. I believe we entered a period of revelation of all things in 2020, even and especially regarding the hearts of our leaders.
There’s no going back from here. This is just the next chapter. I welcome it.
I welcome truth and vulnerability. I welcome flaws and the grace that covers them. I welcome the Lord to reign here. No more pretending. We are getting ready for Jesus and no man or women can go on pretending they hold any authority over the church or the world.
Praise be to God. And only Him.