As the legend goes, the little town of Hamelin was overrun with rats. Tried as they could the town could not get rid of the rats, then came a pied piper, a man dressed in fun colorful clothes and playing beautiful music. He claimed he could rid the town of their problem for a rather large price. He promised to be paid after the job was done. He successfully solves the problem by leading all the rats away from the town and off a cliff.
The town however decides they would not pay him his price and actually accused him of sending the rats to the town in the first place. The pied piper in his anger for not getting what he thought he deserved, decided he would turn his talents against the town. While the adults were in church one Sunday morning, the pied piper showed up in the pubic town square using his colorful clothes and music to bring all the children to come to him instead. Using his music, he led children out of the town, as he did the rats, never to return.
Legend of this town continues in folklore and story, as a town without young people and a place of a lost and missing generation.
A short while ago, I sat with a pastor, describing a young man that was about to take over his church’s student ministry. As we talked about this young man’s potential and talents, I heard little of his calling or gifting. Toward the end of the conversation, the pastor trying to explain his decision, using a phrase that seems to echo in my mind since “He is a Pied Piper!”.
Over the last few years or even a bit more, as I continue to read stories of young Christian leaders that have fallen off the cliff morally and even worse intentionally left the faith altogether. Even within this last week, we hear about another famous “celebrity” church leader, being asked to step down because of moral failure. By the world’s standards these young leaders are attractive, creative, and some musically talented. Each time the words “pied piper” echo in my mind. These leaders with their latest clothes and expensive sneakers, posting attractive pictures of themselves, their spouses, and even their homes, as they seek fame and fortune. They use their books to advise us on how to date or not. They play the music that stirs excitement and emotion. They become models of ministry or a certain kind of life.
They seek less to be Godly, Biblical guides but more to be celebrities and influencers.
There is a whole generation that is being led by them, separating them from the church and Godly adults. There is a generation being drawn out of their Christian homes into the public “town square” of popular opinion, mesmerized by these leaders. Even in some of the current popular churches and Christian movements we are seeing this becoming the model. Once again, in that conversation I had not long ago, a church was looking to become more attractive to the next generation through hiring a hip, cool quick fix.
Beware of the Pied Pipers Ministry mindset! It will be a temporary solution to the perceived “rats” and it will feel like we are finally free! It may only end up with us discovering that real danger was in seeking the wrong person to have access to leading the next generation of the church.