Sacred Cows And Goats


Once upon a time I was a college student at a strict fundamental Baptist university and on one particular evening in the Fall of 1978 I was actually even studying. Or trying to. Sitting at my desk beneath the stark glare of a flourescent bulb, I was tapping my pen on a spiral notebook. It dawned on me I was tapping in rhythm with a bass beat coming through the cinderblock wall from the other side. I leaned into the wall and listened more closely. No, it couldn’t be! Not at this college!

Rock music.

The ire rose within. In that defining moment, it was apparent that something must be done before the integrity of the school would be buried in a mudslide of evil. It was incumbent upon me to stand in the gap and defend her honor! So I threw on a robe and stuck my feet in some flip flops and marched next door. Their door was open and I sardonically observed the room was full of guys, so I entertained the thought of living to fight another day, but it was too late. I was already spotted.

“C’mon in!” Brad waved.

How could I? I would be complicit with evil! “No, thanks, but could you guys turn down the music? I’m trying to study. Better yet, turn it off.”

“Turn it off?” his big, brawny weightlifter roommate Jim was puzzled.

“Yeah. You know…we’re not supposed to listen to…”

“To what?” the room was beginning to turn on me real fast. I had gone this far. Might as well take it the distance.

“Rock music!”

The room erupted in raucous laughter. “Rock music? Rock music? You gotta be kidding! This is the Imperials. They’re a Christian group,” Brad informed me.

“But it’s got a beat. It’s wrong…” I pleaded for their souls. The mood of the room told me I would get no penitent sinners at the altar of invitation on this night. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Why couldn’t I have just reported them to the dorm supervisor? And here I was, a freshman, standing up to two seniors. Whatever got into me?

Balance that night against what happened to me just the other night. I was on the internet and came across a page endorsing a Christian book, a best-selling book, and when I saw the author’s name, I said to myself, “It couldn’t be…” Not Brad! Surely not…But as I investigated further, I discovered it was one and the same, and not only had my buddy Brad turned into an influential writer for church reformation but he was also the senior pastor of a church up north where 13,000 parishioners gathered each weekend for worship. It was the fastest growing church in the state!

I’ve considered jetting Brad an email, telling him I am sorry for my overzealous judgment on that fateful night long ago, that I’ve changed, that the Imperials are tame compared to what I listen to now, but since I’ve not written a book and my church averages below 200, he probably wouldn’t remember me. Or care. And maybe that’s a good thing. I’d just as soon have the memory of that Bay of Pigs incident forgotten forever.

Oops, too late. I just told you.


3 thoughts on “Sacred Cows And Goats

  1. PB and J says:


    i am glad that God has given you grace as you have matured. but let me encourage you. a church isnt about how many people you have coming. if you can reach one person for the kingdom, then you have been a success. if you never reach one soul, but you have done your best for Him, then you still have been a success. God loves us not because we are successful (He brings this dt 8:17) but because we are working his work (jn 10:17).

    with that said, i think there is much to be said about smaller churches. i have been to some pretty big mega churches and i have found that often the pastor can preach well (thats why people come to listen) but there is little discipleship going on, and almost no accountability.

    plus most of the people walk out the door and never change their lives, so the sermon was in vain.

    two thoughts on that: one, check out andy stanleys book about sermons called communicating for change. not only is andy a dynamic speaker, but i think his perspective about sermons is awesome. two, i think that andy and rick warren and many other megachurch leaders are doing good things, but they dont really impact the lives of the church as much as a pastor like you can.

    see you have the time to really invest yourself into a few keys guys (elders or teens or singles, etc) who will really impact all those around them. but with a megachurch, the focus is more on a production that looks good once a week, than a community that lives and eats and goes through life together. because that is what christian life is about. we are to be a community, not a performance. you cant really have close knit community with 5000 people. 200 is a great number.

    i encourage you to thank God for the smallness of your church.

    may you help your church to bear fruit (and not play a numbers game)


  2. pasturescott says:

    Peter, my friend,

    I say ‘amen’, ‘amen’ and ‘amen’!!! It seems the Lord has brought a like-minded (kingdom-minded) fellow traveler to me! Though the last paragraph was said tongue-in-cheek (I grew up with the whole numbers thing and have tired of it and seen the ineffectiveness of it on the whole), your admonition is still a good word to me and for others who will read this.

    Peter, you are right on. That is EXACTLY what my leadership style has transformed into: pouring my life into the few and let God’s mathematics take over! There is something to Paul’s admonition to Timothy about “the things that you have learned, entrust these to faithful men…” (2 Tim 2:2)

    The Lord has blessed me again through you!



  3. PB and J says:


    i am also very encouraged to hear another brother has like mindedness. i too feel the same way about 2tim2.2. (for curiosity were you ever involved with the Navs? cuz thats where i first heard this verse explained)

    also, i am very interested to hear more about your experiences (and your focus and how you do things) as a pastor, because i am currently in the army, but am getting out soon and going to seminary. i am feeling more led to being a pastor right now (although God may direct me other places like missionary in the future).

    i havent seen to many small church pastors investing in their church, and i would be curious to see what it looks like and how to do it as a pastor, because most of my experience has been as a layman and one on one or two.

    may His face shine upon you


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