Joining the Preacher
(Pass Christian, Mississippi circa 1994)
About a decade ago I would have told you I was a St. Louis Rams fan. In those years the Rams were the greatest show on turf. I watched all the games I could (I do work on Sundays) and thoroughly enjoyed the ride (short though it was). However, as the team began to break up, I discovered something shocking. I wasn’t a Rams fan at all…I was a Kurt Warner fan. My allegiance was to an individual player and not to the team. When Warner was traded to the New York Giants, I began to pay more attention to the Giants; by the time he landed with the Arizona Cardinals and regained his winning form, I followed them closely.
Being a fan of a player rather than a team may not be a problem in sports but it is a recipe for disaster when people are “joining the preacher and not the church.” Back when Kurt Warner was still stocking Hy-Vee grocery store shelves and before he was throwing touchdowns in the Arena League, a member of my Sumner congregation, named Alvin Caldwell, attended the No Greater Love Mardi Gras Mission Trip. There were several men attempting to get to know one another engaged in conversation under a huge tree at the Gospel Singers Camp when someone asked Alvin, “Do you go to Shane’s church?” Alvin replied, “No, Shane is the pastor at my church.”
BAM! He gets it!
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, a Distinguished Evangelist in the United Methodist Church, has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997.