In Bedford, Ohio, a few pastors have banded together to make a difference. Their common ground? The Great Commission. Their plan? Prayer and unified action.
I had an opportunity to meet with a few of these pastors who have crossed denominational lines in the common cause of reaching their city. In the past few years, they have begun mentoring troubled youth, jointly participating in community service, and praying together regularly.
They report eight lessons God has taught them thus far, and I thought these could be helpful to our OneCry community across the nation:
1. Love. People know whether you actually love them, or if they are just a “project.” Invest in building relationships, with no agenda other than to simply love people.
2. What God wants to do in any one community is bigger than any one church. The Great Commission is a job for the church of the city—the whole body of Christ—untied under Him.
3. Serve, don’t scold. The church is largely seen in secular society as a group of moral police. When we point a finger, doors close. When we offer the hand of a servant, doors open. Remember, when planning your service, under-promise and over-deliver.
4. Pray. Begin praying together regularly, and don’t stop.
5. Remember the principle of neutral ground. Until we get to heaven, everyone struggles with feeling insecure—even pastors. Don’t meet in each other’s churches and compare parking lots. Meet at neutral locations like City Hall, a rec center, or a school for praying and planning.
6. Find unity in the major tenants of the faith. Don’t argue over secondary matters.
7. Let doors open, don’t try to force them. Look to see what God is doing, then join Him.
8. Ministry is always incarnational.
As we unite with one cry to the Lord this week, let’s ask Him if any of these principles might translate into our community.
(Thanks to David Harden from FBC Bedford and Doug Boquist of Bedford Nazarene for sharing these principles with us!)