“We are stronger together than we are alone.” -Walter Payton
There’s a whole other story about researching that quote; maybe another post, maybe we can catch it on Saturday. We are stronger together than we are alone. There are multiple case studies that show people work better as part of a team (this article lists seven). I am blessed to take part in a couple of different groups outside of my church that directly relate to what we do as pastors and ministers. I often write in terms that are very general so that as many people can relate but in this case I will be oddly specific and share some personal details. The larger point, though, will still be made: We need to work together and be invested in others, for our benefit as well as theirs.
Unity Baptist Church is one of 41 churches in the Gordon Memorial Baptist Association. I must admit to speaking from limited experience; I don’t know what other associations do or don’t do. Gordon Memorial has a meeting for pastors, associates and music ministers every Monday at 11:30 am. Some weeks there are only eight or ten present but just a week or two ago we had 18, meaning nearly half of the churches in our association were represented. In a typical meeting we discuss things going on at each church, share prayer requests and then hear a sermon. It’s a mix of our guys that are invited to preach and other pastors/preachers from neighboring associations. Retired pastors sometimes come back and we have guests throughout the year from the state office. The secret that many “church-goers” are often surprised to learn is that many church pastors are lonely. There is often a disconnect between what appears to be the case on Sunday morning – that the pastor is very popular and everyone wants a few minutes of his time – and what happens after church is over. In real life many pastors have few if any friends. Some have strained relationships with family members and the leader of a large congregation can lead a very solitary life outside the walls of the church. Some pastors have a stressful relationship with their church members and/or church staff and after spending several hours with those same people each day they have little time or energy to pursue other relationships. Being part of a small group, whether its for support, Bible study, accountability or otherwise, is good for a ministry leader. Another important point that I wanted to make here kind of got away from me; when ministry leaders and sister churches work together we can do more in the community. Refer back to the Walter Payton quote. Churches can function as members of the same team. We get more done that way for the cause of Christ than when we see other churches in our community as competition, or worse as the enemy. I enjoy the time we spend together and think it’s not only good for me but good for my church. After each weekly meeting most of us go somewhere and have lunch together where the conversation continues because, you know, Baptists.
I originally wrote about two groups in one single post that ran past 1,000 words. I’m going to split it and share part II tomorrow. That may be the more controversial of the two posts. Click here for part II.