You know that I meet every week with my peers, the pastors in our local community. We call ourselves the Souhegan Valley Pastor's Association. Those guys have become friends over the years, and I know them all to be authentic followers of Christ and desiring to pastor and shepherd their congregations in a way that blesses our community and honors God.
They all know--as many of you do--that I am passionate about changing our vocabulary where the church is concerned. I strive never to use the word 'church' when referring to a congregation, for there is truly ONE CHURCH made up of many local expressions. So it's not this church and that church, my church and your church, his church and her church, but rather this congregation or that expression of the body of Christ that we should be referring to, for they're all parts of the ONE CHURCH.
But still, the reality is that we live in a consumerist culture that views these many expressions of the body as competitors. And if we're not intentional about being otherwise, we'll slide right into that trap.
This week I've added a section to the front page of the Christ's Church website listing and linking to the local congregations whose pastors I know and believe in. If someone is looking for a church home in our community--keeping in mind that I think everyone should come to Christ's Church--I want them to know that there are a number of great local expressions of the body of Christ in our area.
I'm thrilled also that several of the congregations in our community regularly pray for one another during Sunday morning services. How cool is that? You're visiting The Bridge in Milford on a Sunday morning and they mention Christ's Church during their congregation's prayer time. You're in Merrimack at Grace Baptist and they mention Colonial Hills Baptist in their prayer time. And just this evening I've heard from two other congregations who saw the links we've added to our site, and they're planning to do something similar.
So I ask: Different local congregations embracing the idea that we're all ONE CHURCH! How many congregations and communities do you think this can be said of?