Rob told me about this interesting observation about how superstars in the Christian world are relative unknowns in the real world. Here’s a clip from the latest Barna Group study:

Ministers Remain Unknown

In today’s celebrity culture, even the most well-known ministers remain relatively obscure. Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is Rick Warren. Pastor of a megachurch in southern California and author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he has appeared on countless radio and television programs and on the cover of numerous magazines in the past several years. His book, with sales exceeding 25 million copies, is reportedly the biggest selling non-fiction book in U.S. history (with the exception, ironically, of the Bible). Yet, despite such accomplishments, Mr. Warren remains unknown to most adults in this country. Three of out every four adults (72%) say they have never heard of him, including two out of every three born again Christians (63%). Among those who recognize his name, he has an average favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 2:1. (In contrast, several other individuals evaluated had ratios of better than 10:1.)

Another example is James Dobson, the Christian psychologist whose radio program regarding family matters reaches the largest audience of any religious personality. Almost six out of every ten adults (57%) said they had never heard of Dr. Dobson; in fact, nearly half of all born again Christians said they did not know who he was. Among those familiar with Dr. Dobson, 27% had a favorable impression and 8% had an unfavorable view. However, among evangelical Christians — the small but well-chronicled segment that is clearly Dr. Dobson’s core constituency — his rating was 69% favorable, 4% unfavorable, and 21% who had never heard of him. (The other 6% did not have an opinion of him.)