Neil Cole (pictured), pastor of a Grace Brethren church in Signal Hill, California, and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates, is featured in a current article from Leadership Network. Here is an excerpt — the entire article may be seen by clicking on http://www.pursuantgroup.com/leadnet/advance/aug07s2a.htm
A few weeks before a young pastor began his ministry in a new town, he decided to visit the largest-attendance church in the area, just two blocks from his own new church. As he sat through a worship service he decided quickly that he “could do church better than this.”
It didn’t take him long after leaving that worship service to realize his attitude was “ugly.”
Neil Cole is a pastor, church planter and author of several books, including The Organic Church. He is also that young pastor who decided he needed to apologize for his judgmental attitude that surfaced while sitting in the pew at his neighboring church.
“I wrote a letter to that pastor,” Neil says. “I confessed what I had done and I committed to pray for that church every time I passed its facility. Since it was just two blocks away, that meant I prayed for them a lot.”
Neil’s honesty and humility led to a friendship with the pastor and ultimately to the collaboration of authoring two books together.
“That was my first experience partnering with another church,” Neil reports. “It was Conservative Baptist and I was Grace Brethren. I learned that if it’s from your heart, it can be a natural flow. You work with leaders who will work with you and you keep praying for the ones who won’t.”
Neil isn’t alone in discovering that partnerships and alliances can benefit all parties and, ultimately, the kingdom of God. In major cities across America, alliances and partnerships are being formed between churches to achieve the goal of evangelism.
Sometimes these partnerships are as simple as two pastors working together in one community. Sometimes partnerships become strategic alliances among a group of churches working toward a common goal.
“We’re seeing churches across the nation networking with each other for the purpose of church planting,” says Margaret Slusher, director of the Church Planting Leadership Community for Leadership Network.
“The greater purpose is reaching every man, woman and child for Christ in a city or a region. They’re crossing denominational lines, sharing information and resources, all for the purpose of seeing people come to Christ.”