A few years ago a man entered a barber shop in Tupelo, Mississippi, looking for directions to a church.
It so happened that at the time, there were three large Baptist churches in town, all three with pastors who had been there a long time. In fact, all three pastors had served their churches so long and were so identified with their churches, that each church was known as much by the pastor’s name as the local church name.
Rev. Holcomb was pastor of First Baptist Church, Rev. Day was pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, and Rev. Hancock was pastor of Harrisburg Baptist Church.
The man who entered the barber shop that day asked, “Where is the Church of God?” The barber scratched his head and said, “Let me see. Rev. Holcomb has a church, Rev. Day has a church, and Lawrence Hancock has a church. I’m sorry. I don’t believe God’s got a church in this town!”
The fact is, whatever name a church uses, every true church belongs to God, not the pastor or anybody else. That’s why the apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Corinth by saying, “To God’s church at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2, HCSB).
That church was divided into four groups that each claimed to follow Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ (1 Corinthians 1: 12), but Paul reminded them that Christ is not divided, and they all belong to God.
Pastor John Osteen used to say, “I’m your pastor, not your master.” How true! The pastor is to shepherd the flock of God, but Jesus is the master and the chief shepherd of the church (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Who is leading your church? Who are you following?
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers. Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. For more “Holy Humor,” go to the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.