Whenever I hear the word "ecumenical" I think of a circle of pale-looking pastors, covered in honey and singing "Kum-ba-yah." Whether true or untrue that is the mental picture I get.
Some terms that could describe this weak brand of squishy unity in my mind are:
"It doesn't matter what you believe but that you believe."
"We don't let our doctrine divide us."
"As long as you are sincere you are welcome here."
Guess what? Hitler may have very well been sincere, doctrine does sometimes need to divide us, and it does matter what you believe!
What we need is Jesus-centered, Gospel-driven networks of pastors and youth pastors who unite for a cause, THE Cause…reaching every person in their cities for Christ.
Gospel-driven networks pray!
They know the bazooka in the closet is prayer and they pick it up together and point it straight at their common enemy, Satan. They rise up against the Devil by kneeling down together in prayer for their communities. On their knees they tear down strongholds, pray for each other and intercede on behalf of their neighborhoods.
Gospel-driven networks love!
They love each other and love their community. They want to see each others' churches and youth groups packed and overflowing. That's right! They cheer for each other and try to help each other win.
They take great pains to serve their communities together. They build bridges with city officials and challenge neighbors to build bridges with each other. I'm seeing this happen in amazing ways in my own community of Arvada, Colorado. And it is the pastors and youth leaders who are the behind-the-scenes orchestrators of this love-your-neighbor citywide movement.
What's happening in my home town can happen in yours!
Gospel-driven networks evangelize!
For Gospel-driven pastors and youth pastors it's not enough to pray and build bridges to their communities. They take the next courageous step of reaching them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because if we really love our neighbors we are going to do our best to save them from a wasted life and painful eternity. If we truly love them we are going to introduce them to the God of love, Jesus Christ.
If you're a pastor, think about how to start a Gospel-centered network that has, as its ultimate purpose, the unity of the Bride of Christ to transform your community with the good news of Jesus. Maybe it starts with just one or two of your fellow spiritual shepherds, but start it.
If you're a youth pastor learn from the strongest, most Biblical example of this I've ever seen. Read this blog on the Kenosha Allies and be inspired to attempt something similar in your city.
But be warned that Satan will do his best to stop you. Stay prayed up!
And, by the way, when it comes to spreading the Gospel, if you don't know how to share your faith or equip your teens to share their faith check out Dare 2 Share. We have plenty of tools, resources and training events to help you.
Ecumenical? No! Gospel-Driven? Yes!