2. Opportunities for friendship and fellowship.
Establishing these relationships opens the doors for friendships and for true fellowship to take place.
I have a group of men that I meet with at least once a month that are from several different denominations and theological positions. When we gather, there is little that we will not discuss with each other. Deep theological issues, local issues that affect all of us, even our marriages and family issues. We meet, we talk, we eat and we pray for each other.
It is a safe environment, and all of us appreciate that. What pastor would not want a safe place to talk and open his heart?
3. Opportunities for serving together.
By establishing these relationships, we have found that we can raise a unified voice in our communities.
We have been able to plan, coordinate and execute larger events and share the gospel as the church. Some of these events have had a profound impact on our local areas as well as the whole state.
A pastor friend of mine who is a Calvinist called me and asked if I would sit in on an ordination council for a man that he was ordaining. After reminding him of something we both knew quite well, that I am not a Calvinist, he told me that he knew he could trust me and wanted my view in the questioning process. We have had many lunches together debating, so he knew where I stood theologically, but he and I were such friends that he thought it would be best for the new minister to sit under my line of questions. We had an amazing time and it was great to have the chance to strengthen each other in the faith.
Perhaps you have tried to attend some local pastor’s gatherings in your city. Maybe it did not go well, kind of uncomfortable like attending a new church for the first time. There was not enough positive from it to make you want to do it again. I get that.
Give it some time, put in some effort. Invite individual pastors to coffee or lunch, and offer to buy them lunch.
Relationships take time and effort. It may be uncomfortable at first, but over time, barriers will drop as you pass time together and create that safe place. As you develop a good relationship with one pastor, you can begin to invite others into the group. But let me encourage you. While it may go against your fears, hesitations and inherent concerns about getting to know and open up in front of other pastors … it is a good thing. In fact, it is a God thing! It is our calling.
John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Do you know that pastor near you? If not, I hope you will seek to change that.