On Being a Local Church Pastor in the Church

So, I was blessed last night as we gathered across many denomination lines 1,200 strong to declare the trustworthiness of the Word of God together through music, prayer, and the reading of Scripture as we asked God to do a work of reformation and revival through NE Ohio (www.unityinneohio.com).  I’ve always prayed about getting to be a part of a community where local church pastors actually want to serve together for the building of the Kingdom, and God is answering my prayers.  Let me give you my “Behind the Scenes” and “From the Audience” perspective.

From the Audience perspective – The Word was the hero of the night!  16 pastors reading, reciting, quoting passages of Scripture that walked us through the progressive revelation of “The Word” climaxing in John 1:14, and culminating in Matthew 28:18-20.  The elder statesman pastor who has prayed for churches to come together for years bringing the final passage and declaring that if we are to Take the Word, we must Trust the Word.  Amen!  Pastors who preach weekly to their congregations to simply let the Word do the preaching tonight (do you know how hard it is to have a pastor not comment on a passage of Scripture?).  Musicians from multiple churches using their gifts not to show-off, but direct us to the throne of grace.  Ushers, greeters, servers not directing people to church material or collecting money for their budget, but directing people to pray for Revival in NE OH and contribute money to a move of God bigger than all of us in the days ahead.  It was not a bunch of talk about Unity in the Church, it WAS the Church practicing Unity and lovin’ it!  Thank you Church.

Behind the Scenes perspective – We gathered as pastors beforehand to go through the evening and pray and guess what, it was actually like we enjoyed being with each other 🙂  I love having pastors in the area who I delight in calling my friends.  We acknowledged that we had led our local churches in our unique ways/styles/liturgies in the morning and then were gathering to worship together as one in the evening, pretty cool!  Men talked about being nervous having worked to memorize their passage of Scripture and wanting to deliver it with passion and authenticity.  Men laughed and joked, like giddy schoolgirls, about how fun it was to be a part of this evening.  No one talked of differences on the “B-issues”, no one complained of not having a place of prominence, no one cared what size their local church was, and no one had a personal agenda … just God’s agenda that “they would be ONE” (John 17:11).   Leaders submitting to one another, preachers yielding to the Word, shepherds wanting to walk with the Great Shepherd … AMEN!

Could it be that God is beginning to gather the Church to be the Church in NE OH, to pour out a work of the Spirit upon this dry and needy land?  Could it be that humility will lead the way with pastors, so prone to arrogance, laying down their pride?  Could it be that the Word will be exalted above men’s ideas and “feel good” seeker-isms?  Could it be that the Church will Trust the Word, Love the Gospel, and the World will sit up, take notice, and be transformed?  Please God, this is our prayer!

For the Church,

Pastor Mark