I'd like to preface this list by saying it doesn't apply to any of my readers. In fact, I wish there were more preachers like the ones who read here (hi Tal, Brad, Aaron and Fr. Mathis!). The following list is just a fun compilation of the kinds of preachers I've listened to over the past 32 years–perhaps as an insight into why I struggle so much with the modern, American church.
1. THE SOAP-BOX PREACHER: he has a pet doctrine he likes to work into every sermon. He could be preaching from Leviticus and somehow End Times prophecy will make a miraculous appearance.
2. THE POLITICO: he wants to change the world through grassroots political movements and pithy bumper stickers. He has voter guides distributed with the church bulletin. Depending on his politics, he's a principled vegetarian or a proud carnivore. Ye shall know him by his feelings about Sarah Palin.
3. THE "GET HIGH ON GOD" PREACHER: his considers his preaching a success if everyone is moved to tears. He's into experimental church experiences like impromptu altar calls, turning off the lights and worshiping in the dark, encouraging people to prostrate themselves and/or yell, laugh, scream out extemporaneous prayers.
4. THE FAITH HEALER: he can help you solve all your problems if only you have faith and a solid optimistic attitude. If your problems don't get better, well, you only have your weak faith to blame.
5. PROSPERITY PREACHER: he promises that following Jesus equals lots of material "blessings." His favorite verse is "God honors those who honor Him." Your problems will disappear with a generous monthly offering to his ministry–extra "blessings" if it's automatically deducted from your checking account.
6. BEST SELLING AUTHOR: he was an unknown pastor with a smallish church until he wrote his first bestseller. Now he runs a thriving mega-church, hosts Presidential debates and makes appearances on The Colbert Report.
7. THE NOVICE: mid-30's, promoted from youth group leader to pastor. His enthusiasm and zeal make up for his questionable degree from a non-accredited "Bible college." Wants to "fire-up" the congregation, expunge apathetic "church-goers" and recapture the essence of "New Testament" Christianity.
8. THE ROCK STAR: wears designer jeans and Converse sneakers while he preaches. May also flat-iron his hair. Keeps his MacBook Pro open on the podium. Tackles edgy topics like masturbation. Broadcasts his sermons on YouTube.
9. THE MEDDLER: his favorite topic is sin and he uses your problems as sermon illustrations. He makes unannounced visits to your home. He raises his voices and/or pounds the pulpit, waves his Bible in the air. He's a firm believer in "speaking the truth."
10. THE CULTURE WARRIOR: an entrepreneur-cum-pastor who wants to "redeem the culture" from the mires of feminism, homosexuality and public education (aka, humanistic indoctrination). He sells books, homeschool curricula and videos espousing a young Earth theology (no dinosaurs) and views child-raising (aka, generational faithfulness) as the important work of raising an "army for Christ."
Thanks to my Twitter friends for helping me compile this all-in-good-fun list.
Am I missing any other Preacher Types?
And if you're a pastor, do you have a Top Ten Church-Goers list?