Why is it so hard for people to work together? Why is it almost impossible for family members to get along and accomplish a simple task? Why does it take an extra incentive for two people to lay aside peculiarities and preferences to labor as one? Why is it taboo for two pastors, of like faith and practice, to work together in the SAME community? When I began preaching the gospel in the latter part of 1992 at the age of 16, I thought everybody who loved the Lord as their Saviour could get along. Boy was I surprised! When I surrendered to the call of God on my life to be a preacher in 1993 and later on when I entered the pastorate in 1998 I began to see a trend that has dumbfounded me. Missionaries could see miraculous things in their field of labor and many of the ministries and churches I was familiar with did not see much at all in comparison. Yes, I know you cannot compare and such, but I think you know what I mean.
For 25 years I have pondered this sad observation. Lately, I have been able to see why some of this may be taking place. It is not the only conclusion which can be drawn, but it is one nonetheless. Here you go… Missionaries tend to have a more cooperative spirit than most! When I speak of cooperation I am NOT speaking of compromise, lack of Biblical separation, nor am I endorsing ecumenicism. I believe that many churches, here in America, are not seeing much fruit due to poor cooperation with other like-minded believers in their arena of influence.
Let me share a personal example. I know first hand of how nearly 60 entities (mainly churches, a few individuals) have come together to help birth the church I now pastor. Prayer, financial backing and boots on the ground have been utilized by the Providential hand of Almighty God to bring about the birth of Great Commission Baptist Church of Blair, Nebraska! There have been no big “I’s” and little “You’s” in the process. A cooperative spirit has ruled the day! This is only one example among many that could be cited.
Think about this… some of the same churches who labor with missionaries hundreds of miles away will not labor with the same intensity closer to home. It is almost like lines have been drawn in the sand and territories marked off. Couldn’t we see God work more in our local churches if we would lay aside pride and prejudice?
Every local church must learn, practice and promote a cooperative spirit. Working together in a unified spirit is a sweet thing to behold. Fond memories of this encourage me to work closer with God’s people. The Bible is littered has much to say on the subject. The following passage has been cited for your consideration:
(1 Corinthians 3:1-10) And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (KJV)
The bottom line is that God’s people need to work cooperate with each other in their local assembly. When it is possible to work with another church of like faith and practice, then it should be pursued with all fervor! I am convinced, in light of what I have seen, firsthand, that more could be accomplished if we worked on this and demonstrated it to our young people. We should never settle for anything less.