Would He be the lead pastor of a mega church? Would He choose the more conservative Baptist church, with their ultra high morals? Or maybe Jesus would be the spiritual guide of the hipster community that doesn’t even have “church” in the name? Where do you think He would want to serve?
Would Jesus jump around under the glow of purple and green lights to the latest tune the band is playing? Would He be touched by our over-the-top expressions of faith or would He talk about praying to be seen by others? Can you imagine Jesus singing the lyrics to “The Old Rugged Cross,” standing next to the elderly woman on the second row?
Would Pastor Jesus schmooze with big donors at the coffee shop in the lobby before slipping out to his shiny car in reserved parking by the front door? Or would He chase the baristas out with a whip and throw the coffee tables through the window? Would Jesus beg and plead for the building fund? Would He even take up a tithe? And if so, what would He do with it?
Can you imagine Jesus, sitting in on committee meetings? Bake sales, playground fundraisers, choir practices, and building campaigns…would Jesus work within the systems we have or would He scrap them all?
What topics would Jesus cover from the pulpit? Would He tell the women to be seen and not heard? Would Jesus have a “moment with the children” before sending them out of the sanctuary, or would they play a major role every week? Would Jesus offer a smooth prayer to transition the into the sermon as the worship team exits the stage and takes their seats?
I wonder what “Potluck Sunday” with Jesus would be like. Sister Schubert’s rolls would never run out and neither would the homemade mac and cheese! Would the pastor purposefully keep Jesus away from the water pitcher?
And what if Jesus was on your church softball team? Would you win every game?
I can’t help but wonder how many churches would even hire Jesus. I mean, He doesn’t even have a MDiv! Would the Search Committee expect Him to shave His beard? Yet, the Jesus sandals are totally making a comeback. He might fit right in, if we could just convince Him to try on some skinny jeans.
Would Jesus have office hours, putting in 40 hours a week at the church? Or would He have a day job? Would He even have a job at all? Or would He be too busy, marching in Pride parades and volunteering at the AIDS clinic? Would Jesus spend his time with crack babies and pimps, sleeping during the day so He could bring good news to prostitutes at night?
What would it be like for Jesus to visit the sick and elderly? Would He lead the singing at the nursing home on Sunday afternoons? Would Jesus empty out children’s cancer hospitals? Can you imagine if Jesus were here healing us right now?
And funerals…how does Jesus even approach a funeral? Would He swell with pride as the pianist played “His Eye is On the Sparrow”? Would Jesus even be invited to the funeral? After all, He doesn’t have the greatest track record of leaving dead people…in a restful state.
And what would it be like if Jesus told us we were just following Him to see the signs, the healings, to witness Him feeding the five thousand? How would we respond if Jesus said we were missing the whole point, that we are the five thousand and He longs to feed and heal us, too?
I wonder what church might look like if we let Jesus out of the box and watched who He sits next to and listened to what He says. What if we trusted Jesus to love the beat up and broken in our hometown? I wonder if our pews might not be so sparsely populated if we let Jesus be Love, rather than asking him to be the poster child for our cultural norms and political agendas. I don’t know what church would look like if Jesus was the pastor, but I wonder if it would look much like yours and mine.
*I wrote this piece with my friend, Sarah Simmons. Check out Sarah’s blog here.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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