When Church People Compare their Pastors to Mega-successful Pastors

comparing your pastor to mega-church pastorsMany pastors secretly struggle with measuring up to the very successful. One pastor I know who has grappled with comparison received this e-mail from someone in his church. The names are changed to protect the innocent :)

Hi Pastor Jim:

Sharon S. here. How are you? I have been meaning to send you a note for quite some time and tell you about a pastor in California that I thought you might be interested in. Yeah, I know. If I were you I’d be rolling my eyes about now. But I must say, this guy is awesome and has challenged me personally in my life over the last year.

He has pastored [God’s Favorite] Church just outside [Utopia] for about three years and has grown it from 150 people to over 3,500. I have never seen a young guy with such a passion and a heart for God, willing to go against the “appropriate” evangelical grain and just teach the scriptures.

He just started a new series a week and a half ago. I am going to attach the first message because I would love for you to listen to him.  I can’t tell you how many people I know listen now. His name is [Gabriel, the archangel]. He has some of the best teaching I have ever heard on leadership in the church, justification, and some other tough subjects. He is a lot like [another famous pastor], who is his friend and a “fan” of his. Anyway, I have felt led to connect you with [Gabriel] for a long time. I’m not really sure why. Take it for whatever it is worth. 


“Jim” emailed this response back.

Dear Sharon,

Thanks for reminding me that my preaching stinks. It’s great to know that people in my church are making sure they get podcasts from somebody who will never know their name or answer their encouraging emails.

You’ve really made my day. I was studying for this week’s message when I got your note (I’ve already spent twenty hours on my sermon). I immediately stopped to download his magnificent sermon. It’s also wonderful to know that his church has exploded in growth; as you know, our attendance declined by 3% last year because people like you stayed home to watch guys like him on TV!

Gotta go finish my shallow sermon.

God’s blessings on you,

Pastor Jim

“Jim” didn’t really send this e-mail—he only wished he had. Have you ever felt that way when someone compared you to another?

Although we pastors often struggle when we compare ourselves to others, it really stings when those in our church compare us to others more ‘successful.’

This week I’m beginning a blog series on this issue, when church people compare their pastors to mega-successful pastors.

I hope you will join the conversation.

What’s your story? Have people in your church ever compared you to others?

Related post: The Curse of Comparison

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