#BetterTogether. It’s the hashtag you’ve seen on my social media posts concerning ministry visits across the Golden Triangle Baptist Network. But it’s much more than a descriptor. It’s a conviction.
Less than 6 months into this new assignment, I remain in the honeymoon, establishing relationships and getting acquainted with our congregations. There is much yet to learn to serve them well. But one thing I learned quickly was how diverse our churches and their pastors are.
Don’t laugh. I realize most GTBN congregations are Anglo, middle class churches. I rejoice over the multi ethnic, African American, Hispanic, and Asian fellowships we have, and I pray for more. But today, we are who we are. Looking beyond the demographics, though, I see churches of various shapes and sizes.
Such diversity can complicate things. The greater our differences, the more complicated cooperation becomes. It’s so much easier when we all think alike, work the same schedule, or follow the same leaders. But this is a poor excuse to shun cooperation.
I believe God expects more from us. The New Testament church was diverse. Jewish Christians came from two camps, those favoring traditional or Grecian culture. Gentile believers were themselves a diverse demographic, with masters, slaves, persons of prominence and others much less so. And yes, the Bible says much about their dispute and dissension.
But, aside from top tier doctrines and unrepentant sin, God did not instruct them to separate over their differences. In fact, to one disputing church Paul prayed the Lord would, “… grant you to live in such harmony with one another… that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 15:5-6, ESV).
Despite our differences, God calls us to live in harmony that, with one heart and voice we would glorify Him.
Does this mean that there are never reasons to pull back. Of course not. The Golden Triangle Baptist Network is a confessional fellowship. There are lines one cannot cross and maintain fellowship. But among the GTBN congregations I’ve encountered so far, no one is running toward those lines. We stand together for Christ, proclaiming His word, to His glory.
We are better together.
More on this later. May God bless and keep you.