Good News Tucson Magazine's Blog

The Premiere Christian Magazine for Southern Arizona

God is Bringing Churches Together

Kingdom Men Conference - January 2010

“Anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
(1 John 4:20, NIV)

Is it possible to love someone without ever talking to them?  Ever meeting with them?  Ever getting to know the gifts they bring?  Without ever doing anything together?  Not likely.

And yet for far too long, that’s how the body of Christ has operated.  If a church or pastor hasn’t actively spoken out against other Christian churches and pastors, then at the least they’ve often been content to live in ignorance, never taking the time to get to know their teammates.  That would never work on a sporting team.  Or in business.  Or education.  Or anyplace else.  And it doesn’t work in the body of Christ, either.  The churches down the street aren’t your competition – they’re your reinforcements.  In the military, how well would it work if you got confused about who the enemy was?  Not well at all.  And it doesn’t work well in the body of Christ, either.  There is an enemy, but it’s not the Baptists (or Lutherans, or non-denoms, or whatever).  Most church growth in our city hasn’t been church growth at all, it’s just been Christians changing addresses, quite often because of problems someplace else.  How the heart of Christ must break over the state of the church.

Of all the things Jesus could have had on his mind the night before heading to the cross…  of all the world problems he could have chosen to address… of all the needs he could have brought before the Father’s throne…  what was foremost on his mind, the prayer he prayed so fervently, was simply that Christians would get along with each other, that we would truly love one another. (John 17)  Could it be that Christians truly loving one another could be as important, if not more important, than virtually anything else?  Could it be that the key to church growth starts with church partnership?  Could it be that as long as pastors and churches function as lone rangers, each content with building its own little kingdom, that the world will continue to ignore us if not outright reject us?

Thankfully, all indications are that the tide is changing, right here in Tucson.  Tucson has had a notoriously divided Church for as long as anyone I talk to can remember.  Yet there’s a new breeze blowing, a new wind of the Spirit, and we’re seeing Jesus’ prayer starting to be answered.  All over the city, pastors are breaking out of their own holy huddles and praying with other pastors, even with pastors who don’t have the same brand name on the signs of their buildings.  Shocking, I know!  For years, for decades, people prayed for the day when Christian pastors would line up side by side, on their knees, sacrificing some of the time they might otherwise spend tending their own flocks, in order to pray side by side that God’s kingdom would come, God’s will be done, right here in Tucson, right here through a united church.

Well, it’s finally happened!  The first Tucson Pastors’ Prayer Summit took place in March 2009, and the second one will be March 2010.  For information go to www.tucsonprayersummit.org. All two dozen of us from the first Prayer Summit heard our brothers praying to the same heavenly Father, expressing the same heart cries, and came down from the mountain convinced that we had more teammates than we thought we had.  That momentum continues to build.  The last monthly prayer luncheon of Tucson Ministry Fellowship (formerly known as Tucson Association of Evangelicals) had its biggest attendance with the most complete rainbow of ethnicity, from a wider spectrum of denominational and non-denominational backgrounds, and with a greater “buzz”, than at any time in recent memory.  It’s a new day, thanks be to God, and nothing could be more exciting, nothing holds greater promise for our city, and nothing brings greater joy to the heart of the Father.

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March 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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