The 4 Pastors of the Apocalypse
Finding the right pastor is a difficult process. Pastors need to be leaders, teachers, counselors, and at times, even disciplinarians. With so much responsibility, it's important for a Church to know that those they put into leadership have the congregation's best interests at heart. Unfortunately, more than a few individuals take up the position not to serve God, but further their own selfish agendas. Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, beware these four pastors who bring untold calamity on whatever church they inhabit.
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." – 2 Timothy 4:3
The Salesman doesn't share the Gospel, he pitches it. To him, salvation is a commodity to be bought and sold, and the more repeat customers he can get the better. A common tactic of The Salesman is to offer Christianity as a "cure all" for every trouble in life, then ask for a generous "donation of faith" from the buyer. When things don't improve, they encourage the buyer to take "greater steps of faith" by giving more money. Motivated by greed and personal gain, The Salesman takes God's word and tries to brand it with their logo.
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them." – Romans 16:17
To The Politician, the Gospel is merely a tool for enacting public policy. By mixing faith with patriotism and the cultural mindset, The Politician tries to coerce the Church into promoting his ideals in the public square. The trouble is, his beliefs don't always line up with the commands of scripture. Unsurprisingly, The Politician will focus on verses that support his views, while ignoring those that contradict them. Be warned, The Politician will manipulate liberals and conservatives alike to realize his vision of society.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." – Matthew 6:6
This pastor is all about the spotlight. For The Entertainer, God and the Bible are nothing more than accessories. Fame is what The Entertainer truly believes in, and the Church is his means of getting it. Sermons become his performance art, prayers a spectacle of charisma, and worship an opportunity to show off his impressive vocals. Sunday mornings aren't about God for The Entertainer, they're about him.
"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." – 1 John 3:15
There will always be certain topics Christians feel strongly about, but The Crusader finds one issue and takes it to the extreme. The subject can be anything: marriage, money, spiritual gifts, it doesn't matter. The Crusader will take this subject and turn it into an idol. For them, Christianity is not about Christ's death and resurrection, but where you stand on this particular issue. It will dominate his sermons and conversations, and those who voice a different opinion will be labeled apostates. Be careful, The Crusader may be the easiest of the Four Pastors to recognize, but he is also the most dangerous to approach.
True pastors don't seek personal gain or chase their own glory. They understand the responsibilities of leadership, and strive to model the qualities laid down in 1 Timothy. The Church thrives when they preach the Gospel, and withers when they turn away. It's important for congregations to respect their governance, but one should always remain vigilant.