Cats. You either love them or hate them. For most people, there is no in between. As for me, well let’s just say I’m a dog man. Growing up, we never had cats. We didn’t need to because our neighbor raised enough cats for the entire state. She must have had at least 100.

Can you imagine the thrill I experienced as a little boy as I switched on the back porch light to take out the trash and looked out into the darkness, to what seemed to be thousands of felines peering at their prey? It gave me the creeps, but I fulfilled my duty with courage despite being keenly aware all eyes were on me.

How would you react to half a dozen cats leaping from beneath the lid of a trash can and several others scurrying at your ankles as you tried to dispense of the garbage in the shadows of a porch light?

One winter, a terrible smell permeated our house. At first, we suspected a mouse had met his match in our floor furnace. After several days, we knew the source of air pollution had to be a more formidable foe. As the oldest, I was the chosen investigator.

Our house was built on cinder blocks. If we weren’t careful, cats would enter the crawl space through a man-hole. As I peeked through the opening with a flash light, cats scattered like angry bumble bees from a fractured bee hive. Cats came shooting out like missiles from a rocket launcher.

Outfitted in coveralls, boots, gloves and a motorcycle helmet, complete with shield, I crawled like a soldier under fire into the dungeon. I lay low as cats belted passed me and out the escape hatch. I fought the urge to stand realizing there was a reason they call it crawl space.

Once the dust settled, I followed my nose to the place of the victim’s demise. Inch by inch, I backed out of the pit with collateral damage in tow. Like a coal miner rescued from a collapsed mine shaft, I was elated when I stood in the warmth of the sun.

Say what you may about cats, but the whole experience reminds me of the role many of our pastors play in our churches. Leading a church can be a lot like herding cats.

All eyes are on the pastor as he steps into the pulpit. With courage and a sense of duty, he delivers the message. His congregation scatters like cats and takes up sides as the pungent smell of disharmony permeates the church.

Is it any wonder no one wants to visit the church? God help us if we are the source of the stink. I know it sounds a little catty, but it’s time we quit acting like fussy felines and bureaucratic fat cats and start looking for ways to live in harmony. Sounds purrrfect to me.

And a final word to all my pastor friends. Remember Joshua 1:9. “. . . Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”