The Problem with Christian Celebrity Culture

Mar 5, 2024Archive, blog

Christian celebrity culture is unreal, unhealthy, and unholy.

  1. It deceives. Celebrities move from believing the reality of their own sinful desires to deceiving themselves to believe they’re invincible, powerful, and without fault.
  2. It ingratiates. When someone becomes famous, their tendency is to curry yes-people all around them. Yes people no longer have a prophetic distance from the famous one, so they do not speak into that person’s life, fearing that if they do so, they’ll be ousted from the inner circle.
  3. It loves numbers. Similarly, when a celebrity’s numbers or fame increase, it becomes increasingly harder to point out issues because God is “obviously blessing” the ministry.
  4. It is anti-kingdom. Big trumps little. More overshadows less. Grandiose is heralded more than quiet, faithful obedience. Platform matters more than a shepherding presence.
  5. It loves wealth. Outward displays of privilege, special treatment, and isolation from the regular people is more important than generosity , accountability, and humility.
  6. It demands respect. Christian celebrities forget that respect is earned by good behavior rather than blindly granted simply because of an elevated position.
  7. It defaults to control. To protect an empire, it must be tightly controlled. Naysayers must be quieted. Rigid systems with arbitray (unknown) rules must be created to preserve that empire.
  8. It slays its victims. The pain of people who spoke up or didn’t fit the vision (and were then dismissed) is simply collateral damage. They’re easily forgotten.
  9. It fuels itself. Those in the spotlight find each other, then enjoy their privileges together in an inner circle of exclusivity while no longer meeting with those they minister to.


Once, I heard a leader from a mission organization share his heart. He said something to the effect of, “I just don’t want to live in such a way that Jesus takes His hands off my life.”

It shook me.

Sometimes ministry leaders (I include myself in this) can get too big for their egos and think they’re above others, forgetting that they should give Jesus everything, and it’s His work within them that has lasting, eternal value.

Without Him, as Jesus said in John 15, we can do nothing.

In this culture of Christian celebrities, this verse is instructive: “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important” (Galatians 6:3 NLT).

Truth: We are important when we serve, when we spend our lives for others, when we rely on Jesus’ strength to help us do what sometimes seems impossible. The greatest is the smallest, as Jesus’ kingdom goes.

We all need His hands meddled in our lives.


It’s our purpose to highlight His fame, not desperately herald our own.

May all leaders long to shine the light on the One true Light. To praise the Amazing One. To gladly take the last seat because it is the right thing to do. To serve without fanfare or thought to personal empire.

That being said, there is no such thing as a Christian celebrity because Christ IS the celebrity. He’s the hero. He’s the splendid power inside our clay-pot lives. He’s the only reason we can do anything significant in the kingdom.

The recognition is nothing. It’s the trusting in Jesus that’s everything. If fame comes, it only serves as an opportunity to serve more people with humbleness and dependence.

I pray we don’t forget this.


  1. Anne Romanello

    Thank you! This is my first reading of your blog. Wow – yes! I plan to share your article and blog with my group.

    Likewise, the Lord has been speaking the pitfall of christian celebrity to me for some time. I would add Philippians 3:7-17 to this conversation. Thank you for articulating this important message superbly, clearly calling all of us upward with our eyes rightly fixed on Jesus.

    • Mary DeMuth

      You are so welcome, Anne. Thanks for reading!

  2. Janet K

    Yes, I have seen several of these in churches #3, 4, 7, 8). It is hard to deal with how these issues affect each of us, and even harder to get rid of them in a church, because no one wants to hear it. Good numbers bring in more money to the church, and churches seem to always need more money.

    • Mary

      Seems to be a strong connection to success/$ and lack of accountability.

  3. Amy Givler

    This reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words from Life Together: “Nobody is too good for the lowest service. Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously. We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.”

    • Mary

      So very good. Love that quote

  4. Sarah

    Thanks for this article. It is true on the large scale as in mega churches but equally true on a small scale. Even our little micro ministries, our little areas of service can become too important to us. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Mary

      Yes, no form of church is immune. Good point.