Home Christian News UPDATE: PreachersNSneakers Creator Finally Revealed – Publishes New Book

UPDATE: PreachersNSneakers Creator Finally Revealed – Publishes New Book

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Old pic, timeless style with Pastor John Gray in the Supreme x Louis V Jacquard denim parka

A post shared by PreachersNSneakers (@preachersnsneakers) on

Still, Jones is committed to hearing out both sides of the argument. He says, “It’s so frustrating to hear both sides of an issue talk in an echo chamber with each other and not at least empathize with another side of an argument.” He reasons, “people have completely different life experiences. At least try to understand where another person is coming from.”  Jones, for his part, has tried to put himself in these preachers’ shoes (pun intended). He’s had “close to ten” of the people featured on the account reach out to him, either direct messaging him on Instagram, emailing, or even calling and texting him. Some “were really pissed” about their images being on the account. Others “understood but also disagreed with what I was doing and the method.” A couple of worship leaders—Brock and Bethel’s Sean Feucht—think it’s “hilarious” what Jones is doing and don’t have a problem with being on the account.  At one point, Jones reached out to Judah Smith (often featured on the account, along with his wife, Chelsea) and Andy Stanley to ask them to be on his podcast. Jones had a very gracious response to their declining, noting they are really big names in the church world and undoubtedly very busy. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The real Gucci Gang Judah Smith and Chelsea Smith steppin out vv clean

A post shared by PreachersNSneakers (@preachersnsneakers) on

Only one church has taken legal action. Jones says “a massive church in Oklahoma City” sent him a cease and desist warning, although he thinks it had more to do with him using images from the church than it did with potentially making the church look bad. He doesn’t fear any other legal action, noting the images he uses are ones that are being posted on social media, often by the preachers themselves. Still, Jones feels the burden of the discussion he is creating, which he describes as “incredibly judgmental” at times, especially in the beginning. What people think about what preachers should or should not wear is more of a disagreement of opinions rather than more divisive topics such as “abortion, immigration, racial reconciliation,” he reasons. He has since come to the conclusion that his posts are not causing a “literal division in the church.” 

The Good That Is Coming From PreachersNSneakers

Jones says the discussion surrounding the posts have caused people to evaluate their own use of social media—both what they are posting and how they are reacting to other people’s posts.  “It really benefits everyone to stop and think about why they’re reacting in such a way—for or against,” Jones says. Why do these images “piss us off so much?” Jones wonders.  Jones says the account prompted an honest evaluation of what he posts to his personal account. Sometimes, Jones explains, we post things to make other people jealous. To cause other people to envy you is a sin and the post represents a stumbling block to the people who see it and fall for the trap. Jones says he has “so much less desire to post to my personal Instagram account” since PreachersNSneakers launched.  Another chord of conviction PreachersNSneakers has struck with people is how they are spending their own money. When debates ensue about the morality of spending money on the extravagant clothes preachers are wearing, followers often point to their own lack-of-frugality with money before they will “cast a stone” at the preacher in question. On a podcast episode, Jones brought up his own hesitation to spend the money he does to feed his two dogs when there are people around the world who are starving to death. The account causes us all to ask ourselves why we spend money on the things we do. 

PreachersNSneakers and Church Transparency

The account has also brought the issue of church transparency to the forefront. Jones says the sentiment “tax the churches” often shows up in comments. While that thought had never occurred to him before he started posting these images, he can appreciate the point. Some churches, Jones says, could use greater financial accountability. Some of the big ones, he says, “are running these massive seven and eight-figured organizations without any kind of reporting or accountability and a lot of these churches don’t even have elders. They’re run by just one or two people—potentially the pastor and the pastor’s wife—at the very top. I wasn’t cognizant of that before this.” But Jones isn’t advocating for revoking churches’ tax exempt status. He realizes most small churches wouldn’t be able to pay the taxes, although he wonders if some of the bigger operations could stand to be audited. He says he wouldn’t be surprised if a change in how churches are held to account happens in the next five years or so.  Jones says he’s also received direct messages from “execs at churches” who have told him something along the lines of “ ‘I just came out of a meeting where we discussed this very thing you’re bringing up, and I think it’s incredibly important because we’ve been needing to talk about this for a long time.’ ” The bottom line that many people bring up in relation to the preachers featured on PreachersNSneakers is that people are uncomfortable giving money to a church (no matter its size or the demographics of its membership) whose pastor spends money on incredibly expensive apparel. Some, like John Gray, have argued they make money from book deals and other, “private” ventures, and they don’t use their pastor’s salary to buy such items. That argument doesn’t land well with Jaron Myers, a Christian comedian and guest on Jones’ podcast. He argues there is something nefarious afoot when pastors with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media swap favors with other pastors to promote one another’s books. One could argue it’s equally nefarious when a pastor uses the pulpit position to reach thousands for the same purposes. Unfortunately, being at a conference where the speaker uses two of the twenty minutes he or she has been given to promote a book is a scenario all too familiar to most of us. 

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Jesse is the Content Editor for ChurchLeaders and Site Manager for ChristianNewsNow. An undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 4 beautiful children. He serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. Follow him on twitter here (https://twitter.com/jessetjackson). Accredited member of the Evangelical Press Association.