Glamorized Ministry

Glamour, from as early as 1720 [Scottish], “magic, enchantment” a form of sorcery that projects spiritual influence upon the mind and perceptions, “to cast the glamor.” In English we find grammar in medieval applications to “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning.” This from c. 1500 in English but common in Medieval Latin to describe spiritual influence in the study of mystery or hidden knowledge or knowledge of hidden things. Particularly in the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Later, the sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm,” first recorded 1840. As that quality of alluring influence and attractiveness that came to be especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

(See also Jamieson’s 1825 supplement to his “Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language” has glamour-gift “the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination.” Jamieson’s original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni “illusion,” probably from the same root as gleam.)

Thus matured into an art form by modern media to create escapism as a way of characterizing reality in exaggerations for the purpose of entertainment but also with the aim to redefine reality through the attractiveness of this alternate worldview, thus giving meaning to reality from other sources.

Entering into christianism in the latter half of the 1900’s when the use of tools similar to Hollywood called some into a sense of showmanship, especially those with miracle working power in the kingdom who fell into the use of legitimate kingdom authority and power for alluring influence beyond the definition and design of their callings and assignments, building a false attractiveness to ministry and ministry personality upon the foundations of legitimate kingdom leadership.

Glamorizing Kingdom Leadership

This trap is in reach of all kingdom leaders, but the temptation tested those most who become well-known, especially in some novel way. They succumb to the altered state of fascination with their fame, building air castles of pride and delusion, some to the extreme, many to the point of distraction, still many others simply adding into the legitimate ministry of personal calling a personality distinction unworthy of a servant’s heart and role.

In short, there is nothing glamorous about ministry. Nothing. Start here. Proceed forward. Ministry must be real people in real time or we diminish the role of Holy Spirit in the ministry by creating an allusion about those who operate in His power.

We are repeating some tragic mistakes in our efforts to accumulate believers, build downlines, and construction ministry support foundations. We are glamourizing worship, prayer, preaching, and spiritual disciplines, especially with the young, to build perceptions that attract them to false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

I heard one leader say to a worship leader in a foreign country: “Come to our base in America, and we’ll make you the next _______.” Recruitment at this level of hype is wrong! That is building on glamourized fantasy, influencing people to participate in your downline with the work of imagination void of revelation, with little thought at all to the only real issue for kingdom: the will of the Father.

If God wants someone some place with some ministry, He assigns them. He doesn’t lure them to that place of ascended fascination with fame, the stage spotlight of “this is as good as it gets” and you can get it too. Such a sell job demeans Holy Spirit as our Leader, and insults Jesus as King of His kingdom.

To what extent do we use this worldly effort to encourage delusions in people? Do we allow it to remain in place with a shrug as if presenting the subtle hint or more obvious oversold impression that what they see on the stage is what they can have too if only they join in the mini-movement? Do we use the very successes that bring glory to God in exaggerated ways that add allure and glamor to the equation, allowing hundreds, even thousands, of people to assume that all they need do is get to where the show is and they too can enjoy that carefree good life of personal fulfillment, giving no thought to the actual calling of God upon people’s lives?

If we allow that impression to remain, without correction, even when we do not design our sets and ministry shows to create it, we do err exceedingly in that we assist the enemy’s number one method of destiny destruction: the “anything but that” method. We feed the lie that “if only” I could be where my kingdom idol is, I will become a kingdom rock star too. We celebrate with ambitious high-fives when more people sign up for our accumulations as if everyone using our lingo and subcultural dialect, enter our chambers of subcultural activities with well-developed subcultural behaviors is success in the kingdom. We cannot measure success in the same way Disney measures park attendance and company profits. We can accumulate without fulfilling assignment.

Glamorizing ministry leadership involves the practice of grooming superstars from the thousands that don’t do it, to leave the impression that everyone can be just like the superstar if they only immerse themselves more deeply in the subculture or ape the personality traits and spiritual disciplines of the superstar. We lie in this way as well as hell itself whether we intend to or not. It is simply not true; and if it were true, it would be contrary to kingdom principles and protocols.

Jesus Sans Glamor

No matter how many painting you’ve seen of Jesus as a child or grown man, He didn’t have a halo around His head. That can either refer to overshadowing Glory on His life or to the illusion of unreal mystical glamor. Often it is the latter as people attributed to Him what is absent from His life and ministry.

We may misread the meaning of Jesus with respect to lifestyle and ministry. We may misread His finished work and eternal provision dramatically. We may run into a line of thinking that basically says, “Jesus suffered so I won’t. Jesus was poor so I can be rich. Jesus avoided fame because He wanted me to be famous. Jesus lived simply so I can wear the best newest fashions. Jesus was rejected so I can be relevant.” See how we move from exaggeration to exaggeration, without saying a word, by presenting the idea that ‘those who join with us reach these levels of personal potential?’

Potential never enters the picture of kingdom purpose.

Jesus gave no thought to personal potential, and He established that principle and protocol in His kingdom. Doing great things means so little to Him that He ignores it, focused completely upon doing the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Do you realize that is the very opposite of glamorized ministry leadership?

The only kingdom answer to the “who I want to be when I grow up” question is: “doing the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Potential is the devil’s tool for the “anything but that” method. Purpose is God’s design and definition for destiny.

Jesus shunned glamor. One of the initial temptations was geared directly to a glamor shot of Messiah: “Jump from the pinnacle of the Temple so angels will catch You up! It will be a great show!” (From then on, all Messianic followers would be lining to wait in the hot sun for their turn at the “Pinnacle Jump at Kingdom World.”) Jesus didn’t do glamor. Jesus fulfilled purpose. He knew that glamor always distracts from the reality of spirit by appending it with other spiritual influences.

Consider the phrase, “angel of light” in this way. The adversary casts a glimmer or gleam of shimmering. We could offer this as another way of defining “glamor.”

Glamorizing the Apostolic

We exaggerate in our sales pitches even when exaggeration is the greatest enemy of Truth. In order to sell the point we make in a controversial discussion, we oversell. We set ourselves up for dismissal by glamorizing the apostolic because the idea that there are apostles and prophets is controversial. We begin to present the apostolic as the cure-all, highest peak of glory, mountain top for all really spiritual people, and long line for autographs after the game. We design shoes with the apostle’s name on it as if wearing them will make people as authoritative or anointed. When we exaggerate the point, we miss the point.

I suppose we don’t think telling the truth will “help the cause,” but Truth is always the only road to travel!

Apostles suffer more. Apostles are most likely rejected of the kingdom leadership dynamics. Apostles become the targets of opposition. Apostles give more. Apostle belong less to themselves and those they love most than other leaders.

Apostle wash feet. (Not write the purchase orders for the pans and towels others use to wash feet.) Add some other experiences to the reality: shipwrecked, snake bit, stoned to death, hungry, run out of town, in prisoned, beaten several times, knifed in the back by those you trusted most on a regular basis when they didn’t get from you what they demanded, etc. The butt of jokes, the topic of sneering dismissal on doctrinal grounds, the most misunderstood (who can understand who hasn’t walk the path?).

To add the “Wouldn’t You Like to Be An Apostle, Too?” jingle to the advertising campaign requires the apostle to stand on the stage and tout the glories of financial gain, jetting about the globe in first class, eating chocolate covered strawberries and drinking the finest bottled spring waters, living on a special diet of super foods designed by christian television’s best nutritional gurus. Then, “Join my downline and you will enjoy the same kingdom benefit package, and if you are a really good boy or girl, Jesus might let you be an apostle too someday.” Now, let’s all sing our jingle, “Be Apostle; Be Apostle, Wouldn’t You Like to Be Apostle, too?” Lower voice: “Be apostle…be apostle…be apostle.” OK, big high five for Jesus!

We could spend a few paragraphs describing the golden crowns and funny hats, elongated bishopric rods and flowing gowns as some stare into the mirror on the wall….

Glamorizing Aids the Adversary

Apostles are hardworking construction engineers. Accumulating materials for building isn’t construction. Warehousing this accumulating of building materials so they can be spit polished and gold plated so they are more worthy of the Lord’s work isn’t construction either. After several years of apostolic glamor, we have bigger barns but empty fields. We have glamorized the office without building the building chief architects are asked to construct.

In order to be apostolic, we have to get the subcontractors building something on the foundations. One would think we would have some superstructure in place by now that would show the actual job description in the real world. (We do have some, but the point stand that we have much less than we should.)

Here’s how the adversary partners with glamorized ministry: once the bricks arrive, accumulated by glamorized leadership techniques, they all wish to be builders instead of bricks. Somebody has to be a living stone! We can’t build with accumulated materials if the accumulation produced false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

When the bricks show up on site with false entitlement, they arrive with demands that answer to the exaggerated sales job that got them there. When the bricks show up on site with false equality, they start measuring themselves by themselves and begin to see other bricks as competition for their places in the building. When the bricks show up on site with false expectations, they demand to be the headstone or have a star embedded in them and become the very entrance of the house.

Glamorizing kingdom ministry produces a people who all want to be in charge of the building instead of realizing the revelation of their places in the walls. They will hang around for a while waiting for their moment of spotlight performance so they can finally show their stuff on stage, but if that doesn’t produce fame and fortune, they will be on the next heavy truck out of town to another construction site where their potentials will finally be appreciated. After glamorizing ministry, people come to the conclusion that it is the highest place, the place of which their amazingness can be realized.

As if Jesus never said the exact opposite with His lifestyle and ministry, principles and protocols, and kingdom culture behavior. Jesus never oversold. Jesus never exaggerated. Jesus shunned glamor. Jesus asks, “Will you also go away?” but He never said, “Well, I meant that figuratively; you all know that you will be in the high life with Me.” (Wink.)

Shatter the Glamor Mirror!

There are some shoes worth more than other shoes. Then, there are some shoes that are a thousand bucks for no other reason than the maker produces only a few of them so glamorized people know someone else isn’t going to show up at the party with the same pair. You aren’t buying comfort, quality, or longevity of use. You are buying glamor at a glamorous price. Are you really getting a better diamond if “he went to Jared’s?” Or, is the sell job about glamorizing the source more than the result?

The gleam has been cast upon you! Shatter it off your soul! Stop looking in the spiritual mirror to measure your success with the glamorized histories of previous heroes. They are dead! They should tell you that it will cost you dearly. They should tell you how lonely fame really is. They should tell you why only grace kept them from the same end as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. They should tell you why an authentic apostle is more beautiful when the lights are turned off, they look too old for glamor shots, when they write their best book while exiled on a rocky island scarred by the boiling oil and pained by prison posture.

Read the real story and you will see that the testing trials of the super stars would stop the heart of most people unprepared for the reality of that level of ministry. The glamorized ones end up in the ditches. The glamorized ones end up with bigger mirrors, trying to keep the show going when the allusions no longer interest the crowds.

When you glamorize ministry, you must increase the glam to maintain it. You gotta drop more balloons from the ceiling, raise more dead people next year, fill a bigger stadium, contract a bigger band or more famous performers. Your anointing has to be throw more bodies to the walls. Glamor is a dead end. Get it off your soul!

When you get to the place where you can preach without your wardrobe, you are starting to shed the dead skin cells of glamor. When you preach your heart out only to understand the conference crowd is glad you are finished so the big boys can finally get to the pulpit, the ones they bought the tickets to see and hear, you are about to encounter your true understanding of ministry. When you realize that God wanted you to do something with no thought whatsoever about your personal fame, you will know that you have more of the mind of Christ. When you realize that God called you to be broken bread and poured out wine for an eternal purpose, you will stop trying to redesign yourself in a way that gets you more Facebook friends,so to speak.

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Dr. Don

Dr. Don

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