How to Avoid Becoming a Church Sex Symbol

3. Don’t believe your own hype.

A leader is someone who has followers. When people attend a church, part of the reason they are coming is because of the church leader(s).

Statistics suggest that the pastor is roughly 90 percent of the reason people choose a church. This knowledge is very dangerous.

I have received so much encouragement from people in my years of ministry. People have built me up as much or more as they have criticized me. Encouragement feels great. Sometimes, a word of encouragement can be all you need to keep pressing forward. It’s great to be a leader that people can look up to and admire.

The danger of this is when the admiration you receive becomes a fuel for your own ego. When you start living for your own hype, then you will start believing your own hype. Before you know it, your head will be so swollen that you’ll start feeling entitled to the position God has given you, instead of being humbled by it.

I love how Andy Stanley puts it—“Your talent and giftedness as a leader have the potential to take you farther than your character can sustain you.” Believing your own hype and embracing a sex symbol status will position you to be destroyed by your own pride and ego. I’ve seen it happen.

The worst part is that it doesn’t exclusively affect you. It will damage your church. God has certainly gifted us church leaders in a unique, and some would say, odd way. It’s not a prideful thing to recognize that, as long as we recognize Who has gifted us. If we keep that in focus, the temptation to believe we’re “all that” will diminish and God’s glory will be magnified. (John 3:30)

Church was never intended to be a place for us to make a name for ourselves. It’s about lifting high the Name that is above every other name. (Philippians 2:9-11

Show me a church that is weak in the worship of God and I’ll show you a church that is more than likely being led by a church sex symbol. True church leaders influence others to draw near to God. They discourage their church from putting their hope in a person and they encourage them to put all their hope and trust in God. Church sex symbols feed off of the adulation of a crowd and enable idolatry. They are comfortable and content with being the object of people’s affection.

Our life is the one shot we’ve got to do good for God’s Kingdom. We’ve got to guard ourselves from becoming an object of people’s affection, and instead, influence them to worship God with their whole heart and make HIM the object of their affection.

As I said earlier, the definition of sexy is “interesting, exciting or trendy.”

Don’t settle for sexy.

Have the same motivation that Paul had in Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  

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Gary Durbin
Gary is the Worship Arts Director at Redemption Chapel in Stow, Ohio. He is also a blogger and a songwriter with a passion to serve the church. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children and have been married since 1999. You can follow him on Twitter & Instagram @garydurbin or on Facebook at