I visited four churches in my new locale. I could choose only one of them for my home church.
The first church on my list possessed physical beauty. Its size and extravagant appointments dripped with opulence. Experience told me that a poor person would not feel comfortable there. This was a rich person’s church. The pastor’s message…a feel-good address intended to make everyone present believe they were doing quite well.
On to the second church. A modernish building with a more contemporary style of service. The unwritten dress code spoke of a heterogeneous group of worshippers. With all hope, I awaited the pastor’s sermon. He might as well have called the children forward. He had nothing but milk to offer, no meat for the more mature.
Next up…number three on my list. There was no church building. Only a dressed-up gymnasium attached to a private school. The worship band, though small, ushered a sense of peace into this space. The charismatic pastor spoke little English. He exuded so. much. joy. as he challenged his listeners, both with his message and his foreign accent.
Finally, the last possibility for my preferred denomination within a reasonable distance of my home. This church resides on the poor side of town. The plan for music did not happen that day. The pastor apologized and attempted to lead the singing for the congregation. A subtle sense of sadness permeated the air in that holy place.
According to self-improvement author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think about that for a moment. Who do you allow to feed your mind? Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Consider each person’s individuality and uniqueness. Are these people joyful, peaceful, accomplished, or deep? Do they lift you, calm you, drive you, or inspire you?
He also told them a parable: “Someone who is blind cannot lead another who is blind, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:39-40
Personally, I consider my pastor to be one of my top five influencers. I listen to his message on the weekend and reflect upon his words as I go about my week. In that way, I spend quite a bit of time with him. A disciple or student who has been educated and perfected by his teacher will be like the teacher in both character and temperament. I do not place myself under a pastor’s teaching without quite a bit of consideration. I want a pastor who will encourage and challenge me.
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles. Luke 6:43-44
I have no interest in gathering thorns or picking brambles. I want only to feed on good fruit. Can you guess which church and pastor will be mine? Church number three is the winner! This pastor feeds off his Master and I can confidently follow his lead.
Who feeds your mind? Do you need to make changes to the list of your top five influencers?