Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to help organize several community church events and help with several others. It’s not always easy, but I want to be part of a church that takes the prayer of Jesus in John 17 seriously. That we would be one. Our church wants to be a resource to other churches by planning events and hosting conferences. We want to bring local Christians together and to reach out to those in our community who are lost and hurting. We have been able to break through some racial and denominational boundaries, but we still have a long ways to go. In our efforts, I have noticed two huge enemies of cooperation between churches.
Fear & Pride
For many churches, fear is a way of life. The pastor is afraid of helping another church because they might have a different style of music or be from a different denomination. Worse yet, the leadership can become paranoid about losing members to another church, so they work hard at keeping people involved only in their own activities.
For other churches, pride can prevent them from working with other churches. Some churches reach a point where they don’t think they need any help. They believe their efforts are better than anybody else and it’s just too much of a hassle to work with others. I have seen churches that constantly make fun of the efforts of others and refuse to be part of any community activities.
I pray that I will be a pastor that is not afraid to cooperate and work together with other churches. I pray that fear and pride would not control the decisions in our church. In the New Testament, we see churches referred to by their city. We read passages about the church of Ephesus, the church of Corinth, the church of Jerusalem, the church at Antioch, and many more. Now, local believers are fragmented a million different ways by denominations and egos. Let me challenge you to reach across denominational lines and join forces with other believers in your community. You will be amazed at the impact it will have in your community, and don’t be surprised if people see the truth of John 17:21 become a reality.