Churches working together

Last Friday night the Gathering was held in PM. This a once a term event where youth from around the town gather together to eat, chat, laugh and praise Jesus. On face value it is wonderful. Unity is practiced. There is power in numbers. Churches show grace to other believers (thanks people movers for hosting, feeding etc). For a moment we can put aside our church affiliations and be Christian.

Many people I talk to hold the combined ‘event’ as extremely important. They argue from Ephesians 4, Hebrews 12, John 17 etc that Christians are to be united, expressing our eternal oneness on earth. They express disappointment in the differences of our churches and the passion for independence over unity. The propose more and more physical expressions of unity in our cities.

I loved Friday night. I loved how passion for our groups was replaced by a joy in being one. I loved how Churches served one another. I loved how our kids met other kids who loved Jesus; this can only be good for doing mission in our schools. I loved meeting other church leaders and sharing the joy of leading these youth to love and cherish Jesus. The blessing of KYCK, Youth Surge, The Gathering and other combined things is huge

However, i think the whole ideal is more difficult than we think. Stylistic, strategic and theological differences challenged the most humble Christians. You have to sacrfice to make these things work. But how much sacrifice is worth it?

As I have pondered it this week I have come up with a few principles

1) These events are stronger when they are lead by small unified team. This does not mean all groups that attend don’t get to serve. It just means not every group gets a say. The organising group sets the tone, agenda and others get to decide whether to come or not. (Eg. 13:3 Youth events)

2) These events stand or fall on the quality of the preaching. The preaching on Friday was wonderful. Paul spoke clearly, truthfully and strongly. It made my night. Whilst the event has many purposes, the success of the event will depend on the whether the Bible is taught faithfully.

3) The event must be bigger than the event. It is nice to come and hang and sing in a big group. But the vision must be to send a tribe of Christians into schools to live and breathe and speak the saving news of Jesus. We have an opportunity to pray together and be sent together to live for Jesus. Every school in PM was represented on Friday.We must lift our Youth’s eyes above the Gathering and to the mission we work on together.

I have thanked God for my friends who put together Friday’s event. They did a wonderful job.

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9 thoughts on “Churches working together

  1. What a great encouragement Ed! I totally agree with your point 1 and 2. I think I see your idea in point 2, that event stands or falls on the quality of the preaching… but is it the preaching alone that makes the event stands or fall? Would it be a waste of time for a group of people to gather and sing and pray even if the Bible wasn’t ‘preached’??? Elissa

    • It is not a waste of time if we gather to pray and sing and encourage one another. My worry is when the bible is preached poorly; when we give a moralistic or a self help message that is nice but in many cases not true. Our Youth often cannot discern truth from passion. They seek to experience Christianity and this can often blind them to false promises and teaching from God. We can use these times to teach them discernment but I would rather teach them discernment with the philosophies of the world. My hope is that for ‘gatherings’ across Aust that we use these times as an opportunity to teach the truth in a way that is bigger and more encouraging than we can do alone.

      • That’s awesome!
        I agree. If our events aren’t centred around the word then does it end up being about us and not god?
        Of course there may be times we don’t preach the word, eg a games night where the purpose is to build community etc, but at an event where young Christians are meeting together to encourage eachother, would we fail to meet the purpose if the words of Jesus weren’t present?

        Also how great would it be to see all those young people band together and begin to change the schools of PM! Every school reached, what a great thing about a smaller town!

    • Love what I’ve read about the event.

      Food for thought…

      Can it really be a Christian event if the Word of God is not shared and preached in some way? I am not saying that you must have a 30 minute ‘sermon’ but what makes us distinctive from other movements/groups/cultures is that God meets with us in his Word. So the Bible must be opened and taught (not merely referred to or proof texted) – when this is done well for Youth they will grow in wisdom, discernment and Jesus honoring lives. I’ve seen Ed do this at Northmead Anglican! 🙂

  2. Amen to this champion ^^^ yeah, many youth are deceived, to the point of false conversion, where they say they trust in Jesus but their life says the opposite (I was one of them) for three years or so. So we need preachers who’ll get up there when we have an opportunity and preach the truth. And yeah Elissa is right in pondering if we need “preaching” from individuals – often we don’t – but we who are saved all need to bond together and speak the truth, no matter how offensive that truth is to people.

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