There are two choices that nearly every church in our nation has the opportunity to make: whether to compete or cooperate with other churches in their city or region. For most churches the choice is to compete since success is measured by numbers, programs and budgets. For a small but growing number of churches the choice is cooperation toward a higher goal of building His Church and reaching whole cities and communities for Christ.

I have no doubt that Christ himself would choose cooperation and partnership over competion and autonomy. But of course, Christ's definition of success is often different than ours - even what we do in His name.

“Did God call me to built a great church in my area or to reach my area for Christ?” was the question on the minds of a group of pastors in the Chicago area. What would happen if rather than competing with one another we actually joined together with other evangelical churches to make relevant, meaningful contact with every home in our city? What would happen if instead of caring just about “my” church we cared instead about The Church?

This is happening in Gurnee, Illinois where ten churches committed to evangelism are working together to bringing the gospel to every home in a city of 32,000 people. In Lake County Illinois, 45 churches are actively involved with scores of others participating in one way or another. Under the banner of Christ Together, churches are banding together across denominational lines and even theological differences in a major effort to reach whole cities and whole regions for Christ.

“The whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole city” is the goal of Christ Together. The strategy gets its roots from the church in Acts 2 which banded together to reach the city for Christ. Churches who are involved see this effort not as an ancillary ministry but as one of the core ministries of their congregation. It is transforming churches, lives, and entire communities. Not only are these congregations working to bring the gospel to every household but they are banding together to serve the community in tangible ways as well.

What a refreshing difference from the autonomy and competition that marks so many ministries today!

Christ Together wants to help churches make five key shifts that they believe are consistent with the principles found in Acts 2.

“Move from Spiritually Struggling to Spiritually Transforming: We help churches to become agents of spiritual transformation, leading people into a vibrant, life-changing relationship with God.”

“Move from Relationally Fragmented to Relationally Connected: We help churches to build deep and trust-filled friendships with one another, enabling them to pursue God’s dreams for their city together.”

“Move from Functionally Anemic to Functionally Healthy: We help churches to overcome the pragmatic ministry challenges that threaten the strength and vitality of their faith community.”

“Move from Culturally irrelevant to Culturally Inspiring: We help churches to serve their community together in significant ways, reshaping people’s perceptions of God, Christianity and the Church.”

“Move from Missionally Ineffective to Missionally Effective: We help churches to fulfill the Great Commission by reaching their community more effectively, one life at a time.”

These are certainly five key shifts that are needed in the American church today. In a ministry culture that is driven by “my success” and the building of “my church” there is a deep need to repent of our selfish, autonomous ways that build our ego and pride and work to build His church, The church and reach our communities in humble partnership with the whole church.
  • Oct 28, 2010
  • Category: News
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