Yesterday I got to swap pulpits with my friend Richard Gotthardt from Santa Cruz Bible Church. While I was there I got to catch up with a friend, and co-worker in ministry, Michelle Whiting who serves on the Santa Cruz Bible Church staff. She was so excited that our two churches were practically experiencing the true unity of the body of Jesus Christ, and she said, “I wish more churches would get over their fear of losing people if they did something like we’re doing today.”
Yeah about that idea. You see a lot of churches do have this fear that if they were to swap pulpits, or any way expose their people to another pastor’s teaching or gifting, that they would lose their “market share” (people who put their buts in their seats at their church). I shared with Michelle Whiting that I actually learned this whole fear is a silly myth. About two years ago Faith Community Church participated with Elevation, Santa Cruz Hope, and Westside Community Church in a complete pulpit swapping month where 4 of us pastors taught a sermon series by teaching one time in each church over the course of a month, and where each church got to hear from each pastor. Of course the fear we all admitted to was the fear that some of our people might really resonate with one of the other pastors and choose to check out their church. I loved that all 4 of us could be honest about that fear, and were still willing to do it anyway! But after we did the whole thing we were all surprised to learn our fear was a total myth. We learned that while our people, in the churches where we served, absolutely loved hearing from other local pastors they also fell that much more in love with their own pastor. That was true in all 4 churches. Ain’t it funny the things we tell ourselves that hold us back? Ain’t it funny what myths we cling to that limit the ways in which God can work through us?