The unveiling of the Vision 2028 document of The Church of Pentecost came with nine new special initiatives. One of the special initiatives introduced in the five-year working document is the Ministry to Celebrities. A celebrity is a person who has achieved a high level of fame, recognition, and popularity in a particular field, such as entertainment, sports, politics, or other areas of public interest. Celebrities often attract attention and admiration from the public due to their accomplishments, talents, or contributions to society. The word “celebrity” is a broad term and can encompass individuals known for their positive achievements as well as those who gain fame through controversy or scandal. A ‘Slaybrity’, on the other hand, refers to individuals known for their stylish appearance and influence on social media. In this article, I will walk you through the rationale behind the vision, scan through some celebrities in the Bible, celebrity by choice or chance, and how the church should prepare to receive these people in the church.
RATIONALE OF THE VISION
The Church aims to reach out to celebrities with the gospel and disciple and mentor them for societal transformation. Most celebrities and ‘slaybrities’ have thousands and millions of followers whose lives are being influenced by the content posted on social media handles. Reaching out to celebrities with the power of the gospel to transform their lives, and they, in turn, can also reach out and transform the lives of their followers through social media handles.
CELEBRITIES IN THE BIBLE
The Bible contains accounts of many prominent people who could be termed as celebrities due to the number of times their names were mentioned in the Bible and the continuous lessons drawn from their lives in our contemporary times. A few of these people include Adam, Eve, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, Esther, Daniel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, Mary, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, and many more. However, the greatest celebrity the world has ever seen is Jesus Christ. From over two thousand years ago till now, all generations have known about Jesus Christ; millions of books have been written about Him, and countless songs have been composed and sung about Him. His name is always mentioned in sermons; we pray in His name, talk about Him, cast out devils and heal the sick through His name. His name and fame never die and fade from generation to generation. For all other celebrities and slaybrities, you are only relevant and acknowledged while still alive, and you keep on influencing society to keep you as a celebrity, but the celebrity status of Jesus Christ is everlasting.
BECOMING A CELEBRITY – BY CHOICE VS CHANCE
In our world driven by social media and the power of the internet, anyone at all at any moment in time could become a celebrity. While some people make deliberate and conscious efforts to become celebrities and ‘slaybrities’, others meet fame by chance and become popular through the unsolicited efforts of individuals that made them trend for something worthy of public attention. Until the body of Christ arises to the task of making efforts to reach out to celebrities, a lot may need spiritual nourishment and growth in Christ but may not be attended to because they have been cut off from religious gatherings.
HOW SHOULD THE CHURCH PREPARE?
- Avoid discriminatory and unguarded comments: Sometimes, a lot of efforts are made to win souls, but we lose them through the backdoor of discriminatory and unguarded comments. The very things we say about people, the ‘holier than thou’ attitudes we put up, and the comments made about people and celebrities can signal a friendly and welcoming spiritual atmosphere or a hostile one. Let your tongue draw all men to Christ but not drive them away.
- Teach to prepare the minds of the church: As pastors and church leaders, we have a lot of work to do. It takes time for people to understand and fully embrace new directives and offer maximum support. A lot of teaching and orientations need to be done to ensure that the ministry to celebrities and ‘slaybrities’ will serve its purpose.
- Who handles the new members and new converts classes? As we aim for excellence in ministry, it is important to have a critical look at those assigned to handle new converts and new members’ classes. The caliber of people that handle these classes, as well as the level of their knowledge and expertise, is very critical. First impressions and the quality of knowledge given to people to ground them in Christ are very important. New and better ways of receiving new converts and first-time visitors should be explored and improved.
- All-Inclusive Gospel Agenda:Over the years, The Church of Pentecost has earnestly pursued an All-Inclusive Gospel Agenda to reach out to all people without discrimination, regardless of their background, race, social status, and past experiences. The Church of Pentecost operates with the belief that the message of the cross that brings salvation, love, and redemption is meant for all people. This concept promotes inclusivity and the understanding that the transformative power of the Gospel is available to all people. In Christ, everyone’s soul counts and matters in the Kingdom of God.
- Embrace the City Church Concept: Celebrities and ‘slaybrities’ may not feel comfortable worshiping with churches that meet in the classroom and churches without standard modern facilities and technological advancements. They will not be able to ‘slay’ and take quality pictures in beautiful environments for their social media handles. The City Church concept, when embraced, will not only pursue an aggressive evangelism agenda but can also sieve and cut off the excesses witnessed in local church settings, which could put off celebrities and expatriates. Most expatriates and celebrities have traveled widely and expect a certain standard of infrastructure and quality service to meet their needs and expectations. In the city churches, time management, standard church services, and ‘quality sermons’ from the pulpit will be the icing on the cake.
- Avoid and Manage Embarrassing Situations: It is important to note that the name and fame of some celebrities and ‘slaybrities’ are not commensurate with their wealth and financial status as projected on social media. Living a fake life got many people into the limelight, but one cannot fake when reality stares you in the face. Some of these people may not be as rich as they present themselves. The leadership of the church should be careful and led by the Holy Spirit to not put celebrities in embarrassing situations during fundraising. This could prevent them from coming to church so that they will not be exposed and become an object of mockery.
- Formation of Celebrity and Professionals Guild: In life, people love to flow and mingle with people of their kind. Forming celebrity and professional guilds will enhance a sense of belonging, foster proper networking, offer support to one another, deploy the skills of professionals when needed, plan for celebrity outreach programs and enhance spiritual growth and development among like-minded people. It may be an awkward feeling to visit any church, and you may not be able to find anyone of your status and level of education. ‘Big Boys’ love to be in the company of ‘Big Boys’ and Celebrities, and ‘Slaybrities’ also love to fellowship with their very own, for they easily understand themselves.
Vision 2028 is an all-inclusive vision and cuts across all spheres of life. As a church, let us extend our arms open to all people and keep our doors open to welcome and receive all who seek spiritual nourishment, guidance, and a sense of belonging within the body of Christ. It is our core mandate to reach out to everyone with the power of the gospel, disciple and mentor, and then unleash them to transform their world.
Written by Overseer Ernest K. Akorli (Kpasenkpe District)