Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Flock

Each of us, as sheep, has been given into our fold, the place where our people - our community - gather. When we're looking for a church, this is what we need to look for, the community. Everything else about the church will change, but the people, if they are a godly people searching after Him, should not. 

One of the challenges to talking this way is the way that we already talk, for we have often elevated our pastors above all else when it comes to the church. And now, when we talk about ourselves as sheep, we often talk about ourselves as sheep of a certain flock. Namely, the pastor's.

And in some locations, we even talk about others that way. 

It's interesting the number of Christians who say things like, "Me? I go to Pastor Andy's church. It's great. He's great" or "I'm down the road at Pastor Dave's. He's doing a great series right now on marriage." Or we'll look at someone else and say, "Don't you go to Pastor Larry's church? Isn't that the one?"

A few years ago, I shared a theology that I hold near and dear to my heart about some culturally-controversial issue that was hitting a hot button at that time. A Christian friend railed against me on social media and finally said, "I thought you sat in Pastor _____'s pews. How can you believe something like that?" 

Simple, I told him. I'm not Pastor _____'s sheep; I'm God's. 

This is what we have to understand about being sheep. It's easy to identify ourselves by the flock that we currently sit in, by the name on the sign by the road or on the pastor's door. It's easy to say oh, yes, that's my pastor.

But don't confuse your pastor and your pasture. 

No matter who preaches at your church, it's God's church. No matter who leads your congregation, it's God's congregation. No matter who shepherds in your fold on this earthly travail, it is God who has called you to that fold, God who has set up the walls around it, God who has determined it its lush land for your grazing. No matter whose name is on the sign by the road, it's God's church and you are always first and foremost God's sheep. 


Your pastor is just the hired help.

So we need to change the way that we talk about this. We need to stop talking about our churches as if they are defined by our pastors. They aren't. At least, they shouldn't be. Our churches live and die by their sheep, not their shepherds; their people, not their leaders; their God, not their preachers. 

Because the sheep are always, always, always God's sheep first. 

No matter whose pew they're sitting in. 

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