“When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally childish?”1 Corinthians 3:4 The Message
I grew up in a rural community in North Texas in a small Southern Baptist Church. Pastors didn’t seem to stay too long in our little town. They would come, do their work and then move to the next church. Four years was a long time in church years. We had summer youth director’s that came and invested in our lives for the summer and then went back to college to finish up and start their own lives. Rarely did we see or hear from them after they left.
Maybe it was because of the constant change, I came to realize that I was a part of my church not because of the pastor or the youth director. I was a part of the church because I was a follower of Jesus. While I was often sad when their time at our church ended, I knew that God was STILL a part of my life and I would continue to worship Him.
When I moved to the Houston area, the plethora of church choices was a bit overwhelming. Every denomination, large and small, surrounded me. I moved my letter to one church because I liked the pastor. He was well known and pastored one of the faster growing Houston Churches. But, I never got involved in the large metropolitan church. It was too easy to hide, too easy to get lost in the crowd. So, when another, smaller church came into my life, I jumped at the chance to join and be a part of the community. I fellowshipped and worshiped with my church family for 10 years under 3 pastors. I met my husband there. Both my children were born and dedicated while at this church. There were issues throughout that time. But our main focus never changed: WE WERE THERE TO WORSHIP GOD AND TO HONOR CHRIST.
My husband and I served on the staff of 4 churches during his lifetime. I saw people really focused on the Christlike goal. Unfortunately, I also witnessed a lot of politics and power grabbing too. We even took a break from ministry because of the politics of one particular congregation. That was a painful time. However, it reinforced my goal to seek Christ in my home church and not to focus on the leaders, the music or other members.
I know that a dynamic speaker will attract people. There’s nothing wrong with being a pastor and a great speaker. The run comes when the speaking (some would call it manipulation) is the primary goal and shepherding the ENTIRE family is not. I’ve seen churches founded and built on the abilities of the lead pastor to deliver strong and impassioned sermons. And, I’ve seen many of those churches fail when that pastor left or fell off of his pedestal.
So, I ask: WHO DO YOU FOLLOW?
When asked this question, do you talk about what church you attend or do you immediately say I follow Christ?
Do you follow a person that leads your church, your Sunday School, your Small Group, etc? Or, do you follow the risen Savior, Christ Jesus and go where He directs?
Do you depend upon the words of your chosen leader to guide you? Or, do you spend time in scripture and in prayer hearing what God would have you do?
Do you follow a leader that is concerned with getting the attention and the power? Or, do you follow a leader that points you to Christ and prepares you to grow and move in your own path of servanthood?
“But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally childish? Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.1Corinthians 3:1-9 The Message
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW?