Sadly everyone who reads this blog could probably tell me some sad story of how possessive churches can be when it comes to protecting their “brand,” their ideas, their people, their buildings and their money. It’s sad that for every story of unity there are 10 or more stories of dis-unity, disharmony, and competition. Usually pastor’s don’t like working together and I’ll tell you why. If you work together you run the risk of losing “your” people (as if you owned them) to another pastor’s church. You run the risk of not getting all the credit. You run the risk of having to work with other people’s ideas and do things that may not be “as good as we could do it if we were doing it on our own.” I could add more, but you get the idea. Churches and pastors just don’t usually work together here in America.
But two years ago a ray of sunshine burst on the horizon here in Santa Cruz. Ben Hartnell of West Side Community Church contacted me along with a bunch of pioneering pastors who had planted new churches in the last 10 years. He simply asked us to join him so that we can pray for each other. That’s it. No other agenda than just praying together. So I said yes, and Chuckk Gerwig of Elevation church, Danny Bennett of Santa Cruz Hope, and Michael Howard of Santa Cruz Foursquare also said yes. Ben gets so much of the credit for herding all of us pastors to come and meet him at Iveta cafe on the westside of Santa Cruz. There we began to talk honestly and openly about our lives and just pray for each other once a month. That was a beginning . . .