Signs You May Be Worshiping Your Pastor Instead of Christ
Don't make your pastor a god
There seems to be a thin line today between honoring a vessel of the Lord and giving that individual worship that belongs to the Creator alone. The line is being crossed by many who don't even realize it. An alarming number of preachers are spending an enormous amount of time teaching on how to respect your spiritual leader and give him the financially lucrative life he believes he deserves. Scriptures are often misquoted to unsuspecting congregants to validate this misguided claim, as well as cause fear and intimidation. If most of what you are hearing each week is about your leader, you should be questioning why. Ministers of the gospel are supposed to be pointing you to Jesus and not themselves. If there is an extreme focus on how anointed your pastor is and how you should always be doing more for him, you are probably in a church where unwittingly, and inadvertently, you are making him your god. If you are hearing more about sowing seeds at the altar to bless the "mand" of god" than giving to the poor as Jesus commanded, things are already out of control. Having to stand when the preacher enters a room or bodyguards/armorbearers pushing people out of the way so the pastor can walk by implies importance when Christ said to be humble servants.
Wolves in sheep clothing
If your pastor no longer preaches about salvation, the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection and the second coming, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I grew up in the Baptist church where every week the message led to a call for salvation and offered the opportunity for people to give their life to the Lord. This is the message that Billy Graham preached for more than 60 years. He told those in his services and the television audience to repent of their sins and give their lives to Jesus. If your church services are not leading sinners to salvation then your spiritual leader is definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing.
If you are being told to go to your pastor and ask his forgiveness, or seek his advise before you make major decisions, rather than see the will of the Lord, be concerned. Are you hearing that members in the pew should not dress better, live in a more affluent neighborhood or drive a newer model vehicle? If so, you are worshipping the man instead of the God he says he represents.
All about money
If you are hearing every week subtle messages about giving to your pastor so he can be rich, and constantly being told you should increase your financial support, you might want to walk away. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (International version says; "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". When you hear that you are cursed if you do not tithe, or that God won't bless you unless you give to your pastor above his salary, that's wrong. If sermons are more about the curse of not tithing than going to hell if you don't accept Jesus, you are not in a true Christian church. Begging for money for the pastor over and above his salary is making him a god. Jesus taught his followers to give to the needy, not to greedy men who want to play keep up with the Joneses and covet what other pastors have. When you hear that your pastor needs a Mercedes or has the right to lie in a certain neighborhood, this puts your focus on the desires of your leader, rather than doing what pleases the Lord.
If you are being told you are not a good Christian unless you travel with your leader when he preaches, and you must give him extra money, cook for his family, clean his house and take care of all his personal needs that is not of God, A pastor should be a good steward of his salary just like you and I.If we cannot afford life's luxuries, we must go without. Asking the ministries/auxiliaries of the church to purchase expensive tables and chairs, or having the church to buy the pastor a car is funding greed and not helping him take care of a basic need.
If there are people in your congregations who are living without heat or lights, or food or cannot purchase medication, these are needs that should be met. A pastor should not be expecting the congregation to purchase him a Rolex, or private jet when faithful members are in such dire situations. Should you be told that because your pastor is now an Apostle or Bishop he must have an increase in salary, or purchase more expensive clothing, that is idol worship of the man and his title.
I was in a church where guest preachers came in and raised 10-20 thousand dollars in one service, 4 or 5 times a year by telling people that "God said" 10 people should give the pastor, $1000.00 and 20 people should give him $500.00 each. Church members who could barely pay their bills complied because they heard so many sermons on how we should treat the "mand of god." The church is not supposed to be a cash cow for the pastor and the pulpit was not designed o hear about how wonderful a human being is. The "church" is the body of believers of the household of faith who believe Jesus died for our sins.
King James Bible
I Timothy 2:5 tells us: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Unfortunately in any churches pastors teach that you cannot get to God unless you join their church, give them money above their salary and obey their every command. I recall a woman who worked in a church office. She said that even when she was hospitalized for back surgery she had to have her cell phone on 24/7 and always be at her pastor's beck and call. I thought of this today while watching General Hospital where a man named Shiloh runs a cult called Dawn of Day. He said that those who he takes into his inner circle must be on call to him 24/7. This is abusive and controlling because our Heavenly Father does not demand our every waking minute. He desires us to seek Him because we love Him.
If you find yourself no longer enjoying church and it seems like it has become the personal playground of your spiritual leader this is a red flag. If you are commanded to show your loyalty to your pastor, give him large sums of money and obey his every command, this is not biblical. If you are hearing that you should say what your leader says, and cannot read scriptures outside of what he teaches, he is a cult leader. Develop a personal relationship with Christ, and read His word outside of what your leader teaches. You should be sounding like Jesus and not your pastor. Your allegiance is to the one who died for your sins. Any minister teaching that you cannot access God without him is setting himself up as an idol, and idols fall.