Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why We Work Together #6: Because it is a LOT of fun!

If you go to the Eat N Park in Murrysville, PA for breakfast on the second Thursday morning of the month, chances are you'll hear a group of guys in the back of the restaurant laughing their heads off. And it's probably the youth pastors in the Murrysville Youth Network listening to Lu (youth pastor at Murrysville Alliance - pictured right) telling some hilarious story of his youth ministry exploits. The guy just has a thousand funny stories to tell! We had a new guy come to our network meeting today and Lu's "Find the Youth Leaders at the Mall" stories were his introduction to our network. And I was loving it (I think he did too). There's just someone great about sharing those stories of the funny things that happen when you work with teenagers. If you ever meet Lu, ask him about his favorite game, "Dunking for Dollars". Unbelievable. We have another guy with great stories in our network named Frank. There's a story he tells that gets re-told every year at our annual "Welcome to the Area" lunch for youth pastors. It's so well-known that it's become sort of become an urban legend now.

The point is, people in ministry need friends they can share a laugh with. It's good for the heart, good for the soul, and you just can't buy entertainment like that!

Why We Work Together #5: Because the problems we face are just too big to solve on our own

Last night, I had the opportunity to hear a local pastor* teaching on Richard Stearns' book, "The Hole in Our Gospel." The pastor was talking about the 12 BIG challenges in our world today. The statistics that he shared in each of these areas were mind-blowing. Here they are...

1) Poverty (as he said, a very complex problem)
2) Hunger
3) Water (lack of clean water specifically)
4) Disease
6) Tyrannical Leaders (I was so glad he talked about this one)
7) Illiteracy
8) Sex Trafficking/Treatment of Women
9) War
10) Abortion (again, glad he mentioned this one)
11) Spiritual Emptiness
12) Apathy and Selfishness of the Church (OUCH!)

These 12 enormous problems demand our attention, but I also think they demand our cooperation. More and more churches seem to be responding to these needs these days, but as I sat there listening I could not help but think that these things are just too big for any one church or any one organization or even any one country to tackle on their own. WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER to effectively address these big issues in our world today. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the stubborn insistence we have of operating independently from each other only exacerbates many of these problems. Duplication of efforts, redundant spending, overlap, and lack of adequate resources are just a few of the issues we could eliminate if we came to the table together, each bringing the resources that we have, and seeking God's solutions.

Anyone have further thoughts on this? I'd love to hear if you've seen cooperation among churches or organizations make a difference in any of these areas.

* Dr. Donn Chapman, Cornerstone Ministries, Export, PA