There are a handful of preachers / pastors I personally know that stay off the grid. Whether by calling or by choice, or some combination of various factors, these are people who are ministering the Gospel under the radar and hold an inconspicuous posture that’s reluctant of being thrust into the spotlight of mainstream Christian media. While part of me wants to tell you who they are, I’m reluctant to because I do want to honor their desire of keeping a low profile.
Having heard each of these pastors speak and teach in public settings, in crowds of 100s and even 1000s, they are top communicators that could very well become a popular author and conference speaker. This is quite the contrast to the cadre of influential leaders who do use every media possible to spread their message far and wide, to use their gifts to their full potential. And some do it with good motives, and some, maybe not so much). Not for me or you to judge; God will use them anyways.
One nugget of wisdom I’ve heard from Larry Osborne is: “Your potential is not your calling.” This suggests that even though someone has a gift (in this case) as a great communicator, that doesn’t mean s/he has to step into the role of leading a megachurch and speak to 1000s as their career / work / ministry. There are other ways to be a good steward of the gifts God has given. And their countercultural (counter-Christian-culture) approach perhaps hints at a dark side to the machinery of American business of Christian church & products industry.
I’ll close with an oblique reference to several of these pastors. One is former megachurch pastor, and now teaching at a weekly gathering that meets at a house with about 70 in attendance. One had experienced exponential growth at a college ministry that became a church over 1000, done the book-writing & conference-speaking thing; and now leads a smaller church community of about 400 in the inner city; meeting in a former church building that’s become a place where the community gathers for art, music, and coffee. One led a popular college ministry that met at the center of a large university, and transitioned to do ministry on “the other side of the tracks” and now leads a church community of about 110; meeting in a former nightclub turned into a community center for tutoring, music, and community activities. One had led a thriving youth ministry in the 100s for 11 years, now pastoring a “slow church” of about 75 akin to the “slow food” movement.
You can call it missional, creative, subversive, or even strangely peculiar. Definitely counter-cultural.