Many Christian leaders use their fame and influence to great effect. Whether that popularity resides at the local church level or represents national or international influence, many leaders have effectively said to their followers, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ.’ But fame that is cultivated for its own sake, without attendant spiritual maturity and proper accountability, has a shadow side that can run counter to the heart of the gospel message. Celebrity in the church has led to abuses of power, the cultivation of persona, and a fixation on profits.
In light of the fall of famous Christian leaders in recent years, the time has come for the church to reexamine its relationship to celebrity. Award-winning writer Katelyn Beaty explores the ways fame has reshaped the American church, explains how and why celebrity is woven into the fabric of the evangelical movement, and identifies many ways fame goes awry. She shows us how Christians unwittingly foster a celebrity culture and offers a vision of ordinary, unseen faithfulness, helping all of us – whether leaders or everyday believers – to keep celebrity power in its proper place.