Monday, February 27, 2012

Pearl Jam Pastor

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam
I loved the music of the 90's.

Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins changed music over night from hair-bands and ballads to crunchy guitars and flannel.

Interesting enough, most of those bands did not set out to be famous.

The "Grunge" movement was counter-cultural and these artists were in it for the music not the fame.

“We didn’t write to make hits. But those fragile songs get crushed by the business,” Eddie Vedder frontman for Pearl Jam told Carmon Crowe in an interview for Rolling Stone.

They just wanted to have integrity and make great music.

As a Pastor I struggle with the need to be famous.

I want to have a mega church.
I want to write books that sell millions of copies.
I want to speak at large ministry conferences.

It is frustrating that even myself and ministry can get sucked into the "Fame Machine."

The other side of the "I wants..." leads more out of my heart than my ego.

I want to be a good family man.
I want to have integrity in my craft.
I want to serve my church and community.

This is the place that I want be, but the culture of the day pushes me to not be happy, to want more.

Despite the pull to be bigger and have more it is the small that fuels America in business and in the church.

A recent study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy counted 26.8 million businesses in the United States.

Of those, 99.9% have fewer than 500 employees and as such are considered small businesses. This means that only one-tenth of one percent have more than 500 employees. Yet, more notable is the fact that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 98.2% have fewer than 100 employees. And if you are impressed with that number, you may be amazed to learn that in the same report it states that 89.3% of the businesses in America have fewer than 20 employees! Bear with me for just a moment more as I drive this point home. Even more amazing is the fact that 78.6% have fewer than 10 employees and 60.8% have fewer than 5 employees.

A recent study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research reported 300,000 Protestant and other Christian churches (excluding Catholic Churches) in America.

Of those, 94% have fewer than 500 worshipers and are considered a small church. And to break that number down even further 59% of churches have 99 or less worshipers on a given Sunday.  The Mega Church that is considered to have over 1000 worshipers makes up 2% of the churches in America. The Joel Osteen and the Craig Groschel churches of 10,000 worshipers or more make up .01% of the church population in America.

I may never get that book deal, because quite frankly I am not a good writer, or speak at an awesome church conferences like Catalyst...

but I love my family.
I love my church.
I love what I do
and that Rocks.


  1. Thanks J. We both love the grunge and the church.

  2. Great post Al, as a fellow lover of grunge and someone who's also convicted of the danger of desiring fame as a pastor, this really resonated with me.

  3. Brian, Thanks for reading bud. Im right there with you. It is a strange struggle.

  4. Good call man. Definitely something I struggle with as well.

  5. Thanks for reading Doug, Im still waiting for that signed copy of your book Bi-Vocational. ;-)