Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Locking Arms with Local Churches
Today I met with three pastors from the neighborhood of Anchor. The four of us met at Trinity UMC on Putnam Avenue. We toured his labyrinthic facility - marked by beauty, ministry and potential. Our agenda was to plan out a series of meetings beween our churches, plus one more. We hope to meet once a week for five weeks during the Lenten Season, rotating through the different churches: Anchor UBC, North Highlands Church of Christ, Grace Presbyterian, Trinity UMC and First Mennonite. The hoped for goal is that our five congregations will enjoy meeting each other, learning more about our distinctive backgrounds, and discover our common mission for our local neighborhood. Together we can do more than on our own.
For a long time I've wanted to meet my neighboring pastors, but I never made a point to do it. Last year I took the time to make a contact with one pastor, and then another and soon we had planned out a joint VBS program with four churches in July. That was such a positive experience for all that now we're hoping and praying for something more. A friend of mine who pastors in Michigan has a heart for working with area ministers to serve the neighborhood. When he began this kind of work while pastoring in OH, I was surprised that this was an interest of his. But he felt like it was important, and that God was directing him to do it. I kind of feel the same way, and that God is nudging me in that direction as well.
It was also neat to meet with other pastors who have very different backgrounds - personally, denominationally, theologically, and geographically. Barb from Grace is a former California businesswoman, Steve from Trinity is a former Purdue campus minister fluent in Porteguese, Peter from First Mennonite is a Canadien trained pastor. There is way more to their stories, and I look forward to hearing them, and becoming a better pastor because of them.