My husband and I have been significantly involved in a vast amount of churches over the course of our relationship…probably enough to allow for one church each year of our almost 8 year marriage. We have encountered relational, physical, financial, emotional and generally just really crazy problems as we have ministered to the people in those churches. But above all, the problem that seems to plague me the most is the unwillingness of churches to work together. No matter where we have been serving in all of the tri-state area, we have seen a similar pattern. Churches become isolated because they build up their own way of doing things and become bitter and angry at any church that is doing something different. Thus even if one church has a great idea for serving others or furthering the gospel no other church will join them because of minor differences.
Are we not one body? Are we not the family of God? Are we not, as a whole, the bride of Christ? If we are truly Christians, as a unit, we are all of these things and yet we gather into our segregated groups on Sundays and we bash anyone who is doing things differently…refusing to see their side of the issue. In general we are simply refusing to love.
If love would be our first choice before our own agenda we would not call other people names, even behind closed doors. If love were our ultimate goal we would not look down upon people because they don’t play the music that we like or wear the clothes that we prefer. If love were the driving force of all of our actions, we would not question everyone’s motives or assume they are “out to get us”. If love was all that fueled our ministry we could gather together as “The Church” and be able to accept each other despite all the differences among us and we would not worry about who was getting the credit for what because we would all be giving glory to God. I truly think that if our thoughts are forever consumed with, “How can I love more?”, we could forego all of these minor problems and truly bring the gospel…that as Christians, we should all be able to agree upon….to our community and drive out the evil that is lurking at every corner.
So, to answer the question “How can churches find a way to work together?”….my answer, of course, would be “Love!”.