Monday, March 06, 2006

The Barber Shop Church

Saturday I went to the barber shop for my monthly trim…since my hair is so short, it doesn’t take long for me to start looking a little shaggy…my wife is always quick to point out my need to visit the barber.

I have found a little treasure here in Sugar Land/Richmond…Oscar’s Barber Shop. If you’re a man, you may be able to relate to me here. If you’re a man that is “folically challenged” or one that shaves your head not just because it’s in style…I hope you hear me when I say...I’m glad I still get to go to the barber. Now, back to my point…the disappearance of real barber shops is becoming quite alarming. No longer can a man just drop a $10 bill and walk out with a positive haircut experience. Instead, we’re flooded with all the mainstream wannabe barber shops like TGF and Sports Clips. If we don’t choose these…we’re left with the not so masculine privately owned “salons.” This is very disheartening for a guy who grew up going to the classic barber shop on a regular basis. After years of searching…I have found Oscar’s on Hwy 90 at 99. Incredible…you walk in and there’s lots of wood…already feeling very masculine. Wooden frame mirrors…big oak counters like you would see at a Bass Pro Shop or something like that. And Nolan Ryan memorabilia everywhere....what guy doesn’t like Nolan Ryan? Remember that time he got in a fight when Robin Ventura charged the mound. Nolan landed six “seasoned” punches on that poser. What a beautiful day in baseball history!

Anyway, there’s lots of dudes here too…not dudes that make you feel uncomfortable when they run their hands through your hair…but dudes that might kick your butt if you looked at them wrong. Then there’s Oscar…sort of the Granddad of all barbers. He’s not in the first chair when you walk in…but instead the very last one. The first one would insinuate that easy access to him is permissible. Oh no…if you want your hair cut by Oscar, you either make an appointment, wait until Oscar is ready, or get the luck of the draw while waiting in line. Now let me tell you…a haircut by any of these guys is a quality experience in grooming…they go the distance. You can guarantee that they’ll bust out the warm shaving cream and straight razor at the end to really give that clean cut. Then out comes the chrome plated hand massager, cheap aftershave, and good ole’ white barber shop powder…don’t even know what that stuff is, but it has a smell all its own. This whole experience usually takes about 45 minutes…

A haircut with Oscar on the other hand…well, let’s just say on Saturday, some guy was getting his hair cut with Oscar…two men got their haircut before Oscar was ever finished with this guy. So I watched the master at work…he was definitely not in a hurry. And the client had plenty of hair to cut…he had a full head of hair and a big audacious gotee. So I look over and there’s Oscar trimming up his gotee with great precision. I’m thinking, well this is almost over…then I look and the guy is fully reclined in his chair and Oscar is giving him a full shave with a straight razor and warm shaving cream. After that, a hot towel over his face for 5 minutes…45 minutest later the guy is still there…this time Oscar looks down and notices chest hair coming out the collar of his shirt. “Would you like that trimmed?” he asked… “Of course” …the guy doesn’t want to look like a wolf…needless to say; I think Oscar got a pretty huge tip after this haircut.

How does this all parallel with the church…God set up an order for the church to operate under, much like the barber shop. If the church was a one man show…the lead pastor would be tending to every person that walks through the door. There’s no possible way he could do that…so he hires a couple guys to help out...they end up tending to as many as they can…but there’s no way they could handle every person in the church. So they begin to raise up other leaders as well…and this process continues to replicate.

When it comes to the Pastoral Care of the church…there are certain people that require the attention of the lead pastor…much like the very hairy guy at the barber shop required the craft of a skilled barber. But obviously, everyone can’t meet, have lunch with, or counsel with the lead pastor. If he were to meet with everyone…he couldn’t possibly lead the church effectively. Likewise, this trickles down to his other staff members…they too can only handle so many personal appointments. Eventually we have to be raising up other leaders to care for the body. Thus, we have the priesthood of the believer. Pastoral care of the church is put in the hands of many lay people that the church leadership has empowered. This frees the pastors/elders to operate in their biblical capacities while the body operates as it is supposed to. Are the lay people as equipped to handle major pastoral issues…sometimes…but at other times it does need to be referred to leadership. It’s so common in the local church for us to think that the lead pastors need to be our best friend and always there when we need to talk. The reality is that that is impossible. Just like I can’t walk into Oscar’s and demand that I be next in line for a hair cut with the head hair cutter.

This by all means is not an exhaustive commentary on the matter above, but just a quick glimpse…we could definitely go down some major trails of discussion here.

Have I ever had my haircut by Oscar…yes, I got lucky my second time to visit his shop. He was the only one working. We had a good talk about 25 years of haircutting, the Astros and lawn cutting. What a great way to spend an hour of my life!


  1. Ah, here it is! What an interesting should preach on this next time. Aaron is kicking himself now because he would have LOVED this place. He has not been blessed with a wife like his mother who cut his hair all his life.

    You can bet I'll be checking this blog regularly, my friend. Love it!

    I was wondering if you could put together a CD of Crossbridge Worship LIVE, that would really rock. Then I can play my CD and have a pity party in Minnesota whenever the mood strikes.

  2. hey guys! love this blog! check mine out! Found a place where you can make some extra cash. Just put in your
    zip code and fine a bunch of places where you can make some extra cash. I live in a small town and found several.

  3. hey man, i need some pictures of that new beauty queen in your house! please post!

    got my christy CD today. gorgeous. rich. a drink of water for my very dry bones today. many thank yous. oh how i miss singing!!!!!!

  4. So glad to find your blog! Would love to meet over coffee sometime.

  5. GREAT illustration Tim, and an excellent point!