Monday, March 05, 2012
A Partnership That didn't Happen!
So I heard about a guy named Dudley Rutherford in CA whose church merged and helped out another and went on to be successful. I had a friend who went through having a partnership with another church and they combined resources and eventually became United Church in Richmond.
So this past Fall, I had a friend, who sent out an email looking for a church to help out their struggling congregation.
(A independent Church who came out of Lutheran background, and was meeting at a 7th Day Adventist Church where the church I serve use to met - coincidence??) So I responded and we met for lunch and showed his leaders our facility.
I didn't know where we stood - other than they were struggling financially and were seeking what the next steps were.
I. Use our facility and operate as a separate church.
II. Combine resources and merge
III. Say "Thanks but no thanks".
I was very upfront where we stood doctrinally. They saw our statement of faith and agreed with it. They came out of the Lutheran denomination due to liberalism .... (Female pastors and stand on homosexuality etc)
I told them about the Lord's Supper and Baptism.
So I didn't hear from them in months. Then a few weeks ago ... I get a call from their pastor. He'd like to have his leaders meet ours if willing. So it was decided to hold a meeting after church and just listen. Introductions were made and questions asked. (I was waiting for the ASK and facilited some of the dialogue which I assumed would be coming from the other congregation). The meeting itself was very cordial but seemed to focus on our differences and a step like putting the cart before the horse.
It was suggested maybe to meet as a smaller group. We had all closed in prayer.
Then people read too much into it. What if we merge? What is this doctrine was taught? What if?
We weren't even there yet. It seemed our differences on Infant Baptism, and Communion separated us. So afterwards, the other church decided to explore other options.
Here is the lesson I think we can learn from this.
I. Our Church needs Leaders. I can't do it alone.
II. We need to stand firm and courageous on God's Word.
III. We need to think outside the box in ministry opportunities and be praying more.
IV. The Kingdom of God is bigger than anyone church. We are Christians only, but not the ONLY Christians.
As I reflect on this ... I'm also learning who I "Fellowship" with and partner with matters. There is a group of "pastors" from the community that meet monthly I go to meet with that I learn from though they are theologically different ... they do bring some resources to knowing what is happening in our area.
Then there is a group I meet with monthly that I learn, partner, fellowship with that have a Kingdom mindset and appreciate the group as we continue to pray for each other.
The older I get, the more conservative I'm becoming. As I reflect back on all of this it seemed to be a learning process for all.
Be praying for Christ Community Church.
Church merger article