Here is one of the books I'll be taking with me to Dallas.
The book is a look at the celebrity culture we've created in our churches -- and how to form an alternative society (a "goodness culture"). The authors write:
Something radical has seeped into the church in the last fifty years. The American meritocracy has reshaped pastors and churches, and a new culture has taken root, based on achievement and accomplishment rather than holiness and Christlikeness. This new culture is not all bad, by any means, but it must be seen for what it is, and also for its limitations.
They refer to Jesus as the "anti-celebrity."
Jesus wants followers who deny glory and fame to pursue a life of service. Pastors are not celebrities, and churches are not celebrity churches. Pastors, leaders, and churches are to be known for what their Lord and Savior was known for: sacrifice for the sake of others.
I wrote about this in my book The Jesus Paradigm. The Christian Way is all about downward mobility. We are all important people to Christ. Remember the incarnation: God's greatness was funneled into the plain package of a human being who was born in a smelly animal stall and died in disgrace. Take a few moments and think of some ways the celebrity culture has affected your life. Perhaps like Moses you are ducking God's service because you're troubled by how unspectacular your life is. If so, you've been deceived by the devil. God is willing to use each and every one of us. He can turn our disabilities into blessings. He's not bound by our self-imposed limitations.
You think it's awful that some Christians just have to have the limelight? So does God. But is it any less tragic when we underestimate what he can do in and through us?
This is the challenge we must each face individually. Am I really the servant Jesus wants me to be? Nobody can answer that but you.