The Addiction of the Crowds


CrowdsBeing a pastor is a great privilege that carries with the calling a great responsibility to care for people, study the scriptures and to maintain a lifestyle of constant prayer. With these responsibilities come stress, misunderstandings and the pressure to be a lot of things to a lot of people. When this stress reaches a tipping point, pastors, like everyone else, want relief.

Obviously, our only source for lasting peace and sustained strength is God and He is more than enough for a pastor or anyone else. Unfortunately, the world offers cheap and easy escapes, including one that is not on most pastor’s radars. The first four on the list are most often noted as counterfeit ways to dodge the realities that weigh us down.

  1. Illegal drugs or legal drugs used foolishly
  2. Excessive alcohol
  3. Food eaten just to comfort us and not to nourish.
  4. Illicit sex

But there is a fifth form of medication, one that most pastors are addicted to without even knowing. It’s the addiction of adoring crowds. Big crowds, little crowds and medium size crowds all have the power to medicate our egos and sooth our hidden pain. Why do you think it is so hard many times for a pastor to transition the church to his successor? They certainly want the next guy to take the baton while the light is burning brightly, but they cannot seem to leave the stage and the crowds. They cannot imagine a life without a microphone and the adrenaline of the pulpit.

We are not performers on a stage hoping for good reviews and our identity is not derived from the laughs prompted by well-timed jokes. We are pastors tasked with a sacred assignment and our identity is and always should be as servant Christ followers who are using the gifts God gave us. We are just a part of the body, not the focus of the body.

I love the people that sit in front of me each weekend. They are my family and my friends. I enjoy teaching them the scriptures, and I love what happens when the teaching connects with their listening hearts and seeing eyes. The miracles, answered prayers and changed lives more than trump the difficulties of the pastoral vocation.

The moment we stop seeing people’s faces and remembering their stories, we will only see a mass of people who exist for our soulish benefit. I love a good laugh, a touching story that brings us to tears and I am fine with the family applauding when the pastor needs honest applause. I just want to make sure my heart gets life, healing and strength from something more eternal. I want to take the right medicine before I stand before the crowd so I do not settle for something that will only make matters worse.

Brady Boyd
Senior Pastor, New Life Church, Colorado Springs
Author of Sons and Daughters

Share With Your Friends…

Clip to Evernote
Send to Kindle
Print Friendly and PDF

  • Bud Brown

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Thank you for speaking this truth. Several decades back I went through my own inner journey. Through the turmoil I came to realize – I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit – that I was motivated by the need to be liked. If people didn’t like me I would make sure they respected me or feared me! I still wrestle with this in hopefully ever decreasing degrees. I take the 2 Corinthians text, that we’re being transformed from one degree of glory to the next, as my hope in the Lord’s continual, sanctifying work in my life.

    I know from personal experience, and from coaching and training others, that interim pastors in particular must be aware of this fifth addiction. When we’re called to a troubled church to clean up a mess we often become the lightening rod for the professional weaker brothers!

    One day I expect I’ll arrive at a place where it’s largely immaterial what the crowds may think of me. But I suspect that will be the same day I arrive in the presence of glory.

  • Elver Mendenhall

    Pastor Boyd, What wonderful words to help us to remember why we are doing what we are doing. May God help us to always remember that this is never about us and may we always love the people and care most for them.

Receive Rick Warren's Weekly Toolbox Newsletter for FREE!

Like the content you see at Why not receive it weekly in your inbox, plus bonus material too. It's free!

  • Weekly wisdom from Pastor Rick Warren.
  • Helpful articles on every aspect of church leadership.
  • Practical insights to move you forward.
  • Occasional subscriber-only freebies.
Close This!

BONUS! Subscribe now and receive the free eBook, 7 Keys to An Effective Ministry, by Rick Warren.

We hate spam too, and will never sell your email or send you unwanted stuff.