I am a fan of churches working together. I also realize that not everyone shares the same perspective on this. For a plethora of reasons, many folks maintain the mentality that their church has to do everything and has to do it by themselves.
Now, there is certainly something to be said for churches standing on their own in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is incredible to see church people getting plugged in to ministry and using their unique gifts for the glory of God and the edification of the body. That is what God intends for His church. But, at the same time, we need to also recognize that our respective church is not the totality of the kingdom of God. There are many other family members in the household of faith who attend churches whose name doesn't sound like yours or mine.
If you're like me, then you've had the privilege of meeting many hundreds of fellow believers in Christ who belong to a wide variety of church traditions. Churches come in all shapes and sizes. Over the years I have been involved with small, medium, and even a few large churches. In my opinion they all have their distinctive advantages and disadvantages. There's nothing like the warmth and intimacy of a smaller church family. It's so neat to go to a place where literally everybody knows your name. At the same time, it is also incredible to be a part of a larger body of believers who collectively are able to provide first-class programming and who are committed to reaching around the globe with the gospel of Jesus. If you ask me, God has a sovereign purpose for all types of churches.
We at New Beginnings have been tremendously blessed to be a part of the Bible Fellowship Church denomination. We have received tremendous support and encouragement from many other BFC churches and individuals. One BFC church in Emmaus, PA, has sent a ministry group of teens each summer for the past two years. These groups have enabled us to reach into our community in ways that would be pretty challenging on our own. We are also a part of our smaller region of BFC churches known as the Philly Metro Region. We share prayer requests and do service projects in each others' churches. We have received material blessings from some of these churches, and we have had the blessing of sharing with them.
Jesus had a vision and a prayer for His followers that we might be one just as He is one with the Father (John 17:21). A part of the purpose of our oneness is so that the world might know that Jesus is Lord and Christ. There is something powerfully different about a group of churches working together, setting aside minor differences in doctrine or polity, for the greater good of the kingdom of God.
What examples of church cooperation have you seen? Do you have any thoughts on this topic?