Pastors' Forum


Fellowship with Local Pastors

I’m considering joining a local ministerial alliance, and am wondering if that’s a good investment of my time. These pastors are from varying backgrounds, and I wonder if the differing beliefs will create a problem. What do other pastors have to say about the benefits and possible pitfalls of being involved with other pastors in the area?


Pastor Eddie Turner – Murfreesboro, TN
I whole heartedly recommend involvement in various ministerial alliances. Over the years I found the relationships which were developed benefited myself personally and our church greatly.

A few things I had to learn and embrace:

  1. I am not the only God-called minister to my city. We have the tendency to believe, though often unspoken, that we alone have the special word or ministry for our community. What I quickly learned was that many other pastors/ministers also had a valuable word and ministry for our community. They were sent to our community by the Lord of the harvest just as I was sent.
  2. We are one part of the body of Christ; we are not the only part. By joining my part with other parts, we are able to expand our reach for Christ in a greater measure.
  3. My assignment in ministerial alliances is not to correct or change any minister or church. It is simply to join my hands with theirs on the rope and pull together.

A few things I received by being involved in Community Ministerial Alliances:

  1. Healthy relationships with other pastors/ministers from different backgrounds and cultures, which eventually developed into lifelong friendships.
  2. A greater respect for other “tribes/camps” of the faith.
  3. As the walls of denominations and camps were broken down, because of the love and friendships of we the leaders, the less tempted I and our church became to the spirit of competition.

Pastor John Lowe – Warsaw, IN
Here is my experience. I attended the local ministers conference here in Warsaw, IN, for a few years and concluded I had better things to do with my time. Then as I was praying a few years later, the Lord began to deal with me. These men loved Jesus and wanted to impact their world; they just need a wild fire to light the way a bit. Or, don’t hide the lamp under a bushel because it is easier on you than dealing with or listening to their views on doctrinal difference. Lead them by love and conduct.

So I did. It took awhile for them to open up to me and to receive from me. I don’t challenge a lot of views, but I am well known for what I believe. As a result of persevering and working across denominational lines, we have conducted 3 city-wide marriage conferences impacting the city and hundreds of marriages. We have put on city-wide outreaches of feeding the poor, concerts and have raised over a hundred thousand to keep utilities on for struggling families in the winter in our city; a good witness there too.

We are able to unite to place political pressure on law-making issues in our community like a city ordinance to keep strip joints out of our town and area.

As a result of my involvement and being willing to stretch a bit, I have been the president of our ministerial organization now several years, one of the longest tenured ministers of almost 30 years and a recognized minister to the community, not just my church.

I am called on to minister to local law enforcement, etc…. all because I listened to the nudge of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom was bigger and better than my individual beliefs.

We developed an organization called Combined Community Services (CCS). It is established to reduce duplication of services to the community.

Pastor Jim Blanchard – Virginia Beach, VA
I believe this can be one of the primary downfalls of many ministers—in that we whole-heartedly preach on the necessity of assembling together with others of like precious faith and can neglect that in our own lives. In addition, we can tend to write others off who don’t share all of our doctrinal beliefs and lose the value of their knowledge and experience in areas which could be of great benefit to us. Paul was specific in his description of the body of Christ to the Corinthian church in that it was one body comprised of many members. Each of the members have gifts differing according to their respective assignments and functions within the body. “And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor the head to the feet, I have no need of you. No much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary” (1 Cor. 12:21, 22).

I am a strong advocate of investing the time and energy into minister’s fellowships, even of those which are of differing doctrinal beliefs within the Body of Christ. As we were taught at Rhema, to “eat the hay and spit out the sticks,” I am certain you will greatly benefit from the fellowship with other ministers in your area.

Pastor Jesse Zepeda – Pflugerville, TX
Here’s what I believe. We had a foundation before Rhema, all our instructors at Rhema were anointed and they added and built upon our foundation. Now after 19 years of on-the-job training, we have learned a few things.

  • First, anytime you invest time that deals with the Lord and others, it is beneficial.
  • We can always learn from others regardless of their beliefs.
  • We can share about life’s problems and pitfalls.
  • We are to come out from among them, but our involvement will always have some benefits.
  • I remember Brother Hagin saying, “Eat the meat, spit out the bones.”
  • If you trust your foundation, it is you who may be an encouragement to the others.
  • Iron sharpens iron.

Pastor Brad Allen – San Mateo, CA
There are two types of ministerial groups in my area. One is an ecumenical group that includes rabbis, imams, and mainline priests and ministers. That group, in our area, is purely political and I avoid it. They publish liberal pronouncements in favor of liberal ideas and I disagree with them and politely decline their invitations. I know another local minister that joins this group to debate, but that’s not my calling.

We also have a great group of mostly charismatic ministers in our area that get together for encouragement and prayer and this group has been a blessing. Often I don’t agree with 100% of the theology of my peers, but I never make an issue of it and meet with them to bring encouragement and support. I get good ideas from my brothers and we help each other with business aspects of running a church, like obtaining city permits, architectural ideas, and sound systems. We let each other know about good guest speakers and conferences coming to town and we have a lot to share with one another.

An additional benefit is to warn one another of wolves in the flock. When a bad church member with bad fruit leaves one church, they often will end up at another local pastor’s church and it’s a good idea to name names, in certain cases, so that other pastors won’t put the wrong person in the children’s ministry or other sensitive places of responsibility. It only happens once in 4-5 years, but when it does, communication provides needed safety.

Finally, we have a very high turnover rate for pastors here next to San Francisco. These men and women need a lot of encouragement and we have kept more than one church from closing and more than one pastor from leaving the ministry through the encouragement, prayer, and giving that takes place in our group.

Pastors need encouragement from other pastors. Be a blessing!

Many pastors join a local ministerial group and hope to get encouragement and grow in faith and are often disappointed when the differing theological views run counter to their own.

Pastor James Hosack – Carlsbad, New Mexico
My experience with participating in local ministerial fellowships is as follows:

Participation in these kinds of ecumenical fellowships can contribute towards removing barriers in the thinking of ministers from other denominations. Many times their perceptions of Word of Faith ministers may have been distorted by rumors and misunderstandings about what we believe and how we serve our congregations as pastors.

I have found that my participation in these kinds of fellowships has served to build bridges with the other churches. A first baptist pastor spearheaded a cooperative benevolence ministry here in Carlsbad, and invited pastors to participate. I was the only non-denominational, Spirit-filled, and word of faith pastor to respond to the invitation. I was able to contribute meaningful ideas and concepts to the group—and later stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the National Day of Prayer service on the courthouse lawn. The collaboration and cooperation among the various pastors was refreshing.

Perhaps you would not want to tie up too much time attending each and every meeting and event, however, some limited participation is a good way to build relationships with other pastors within the church community. Some of the local pastors also attend various community meetings, such as the Chamber of Commerce weekly breakfasts. Many times, one of the other pastors will invite me to pray a blessing over the meal. We encourage each other’s ministries to the community.

Each group will take on its own individual personality, and in some cases, a minister may not feel as welcome by the other pastors as he or she would wish. It certainly cannot hurt to “test the waters” by attending some of the meetings and allow the relationships to develop over time. Through past involvement with such organizations, trust was built between our church and others, and a few denominational pastors (who were not Spirit-filled and were very conservative) invited my spouse to cover their pulpits when they had to be away—realizing that I would have to be in my church pulpit. These men were not trained to accept women ministers, however, when they had the opportunity to become acquainted with us as a couple over time, the trust was built and we were able to serve one another and encourage one another as pastors. We eventually ended up hosting a Christmas party in our home, for our city-wide pastor’s fellowship.

Pastor Loren Hirschy – Dubuque, IA
Over the twenty-five plus years I’ve pastored in this community, I’ve had many opportunities for involvement with ministers and ministerial groups. Two groups particularly come to mind. The first was a group of denominational ministers with whom I developed a close bond. Over a period of ten years, we met weekly to share, console, support, and pray with each other. We came to the point where we held “concerts of prayer” inviting our churches to unite for evenings of worship and prayer together. Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, American Baptist, Nazarene, Word of Faith and others, most having experienced the Acts 2:4 Pentecostal blessing, we had wonderful, grace-filled fellowship. The second group is our community “Ministerium” which includes ministers of all denominations, genders, and (now) faiths. This group has been educational for me over the years, seeing how, for the most part, they each loved the Lord Jesus, but served Him from an understanding which varied greatly from my own, their being progressive in their theology and liberal in their politics. Each of these associations has brought frustration and blessedness, too, and has made a better man and more effective minister of me. To any young minister, I would heartily recommend long-term involvement with some local group of fellow ministers.

Pastor Matt Mangan – Williamston, MI
The spiritual strength of a community can only be stronger if its local pastors will come together and fellowship, pray and even do community events together. When the people in the community see the local pastors acting like Christians and all getting along, it gives non-Christians a better outlook on Christianity. (John 13:35 ) NIV “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I believe that you will find that there’s enough common ground were you can get along and play nicely together. But don’t be naïve; there will be some pastors who will not want to fellowship with you because of your doctoral differences. But whatever you do, if you do community events with other churches, do not compromise the Word of God for anyone while still walking in love towards them. Hope this helps.

Pastor Stan Saunders – Chillicothe, MO
I love being part of our local ministerial alliance. I find that our beliefs are more similar than different. We often go to lunch, pray for one another and even do outreach together.

I cannot think of one risk by being actively involved with the other pastors. The only negative is that sometimes meetings are a bit boring. But, lunch after the meeting always leads to interesting and beneficial conversations.

Pastor Mike Schaefer – Albuquerque, NM
I have been involved in a pastor’s prayer group for the past 15 years. There have been many ups and downs over the years, and I have wanted to stop going (this was more in the beginning) more than once. But by staying with it, I have some very strong relationships that have been developed over the years. In the beginning, it was difficult because I knew many of my perspectives on faith and how to operate in it were perceived perhaps as extreme. But as relationships grew, I gained respect from my fellow ministers, and gain in my respect for fellow ministers.

I now very much value my prayer and fellowship time with these fellow ministers. I would add that the majority of the ministers are spirit-filled. In the past I have been in different groups and have grown to respect and appreciate my fellow ministers.

I encourage you to be involved.

Pastor Larry Millis – St. Joseph, IL
We do not have an official ministerial alliance as such, but we do occasionally meet and we do hold a Thanksgiving community service every year. Although our theology often differs, we still have many “like experiences” and sentiments concerning things going on in our community. When we started our church thirty two years ago, we met in a nearby town and were not part of the local ministerial group, even though we considered ourselves part of this community and knew we would build our own church building in this community. As was the case with many others, people were scared of our little start-up charismatic full gospel “cult.” I think it would have helped if I could have been a part of their ministers group and developed a bit of a relationship with the other pastors.

Once we built our church here and began meeting with other churches and pastors, many of those walls have come down. Not only does most of the community accept us, but I have had the opportunity to personally minister to some of the other ministers from time to time (one of the opportunities that comes over time as you become older than the other pastors and have been with the same church while other churches change pastors every 5-10 years).

The one disadvantage to our getting together is if they decide to take on a project as a group of churches and it isn’t something that I feel would be beneficial to our church or community. Then I run the risk of our church looking like the Lone Ranger or being aloof. I do have a problem with other ministers whose churches may be much smaller, trying to set my agenda or the agenda of our church when I or the church may already have a ton of stuff on our plate.

Personally, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but I’m sure every area and situation is different.

Pastor Walker Schurz – Lusaka, Zambia
You had a few questions in your statement, so let me address each one from my experience and perspective. I am a part of an evangelical fellowship, a pastors’ prayer breakfast, and I also meet regularly with two local pastors to pray and to share our hearts with each other.

Is joining a local ministerial alliance a good investment of your time? A resounding, Yes! For me, it is some of the best time I spend. I find myself refreshed, encouraged and inspired. I also appreciate the time I can give love and grace to fellow laborers. I believe it will pay rich dividends for you.

Will differing beliefs create a problem? Only if you are going to these ministers for theological advice and correction. That does not usually happen at these forums. I go away realizing that there is so much we have in common and not too much that differs. We believe the same about Jesus, salvation, a desire to mature believers and expand the Kingdom.


  • Grace. There is grace in others for us and you will come in contact with that grace for you.
  • Friendship. Most ministers are very kind and wonderful people.
  • Encouragement. It is wonderful to be around people who can lift you.
  • Empathy. These folks understand my job better than anyone in my congregation.
  • God’s Glory. God’s desire is to see His children loving each other, working with each other, and unified.

Possible Pitfalls:

  1. Losing a bad reputation. We charismatic/faith folks are notorious for being conceited about our far-superior doctrine and tend to stay to ourselves. By loving and making relationships with other ministers, you might lose this perception.
  2. Other churches may gossip less about you and your church. I have found that ministers that I have a relationship with hardly ever speak ill of me or my church.
  3. No longer able to be the spiritual Lone Ranger of your town. So many Bible leaders had problems when they isolated and tried to go it alone.

Join with other pastors and ministers in your area. I honestly believe you will be glad you did.

Pastor Rob Wynne – Linden, AL
What about the possible effects that your beliefs may have on them? I do not know about others, but I am pretty established in my core beliefs. I normally know when something is erroneous.

You may have to sit through some boring or slight doctrinal error, but you may at the same time get some points that will help you or that you can use. You may hear a moving sermon.

You will probably find out some pastoral advice that you would want to incorporate into your own arsenal of information to use; I have. I have found men that I admire and men that I do not.

Some other pitfalls could be that you will be rejected, treated adversely, spoken against or someone might speak rudely to you. You could find others have similar problems as you.

I do it as much to inspire my people to reach out to other people of the Christian faith in obedience to scripture, such as 1 Jn 1:7, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

I prefer not to stand before Jesus some day and give a lame excuse for not fellowshipping with other believers!

Pastor Virgil Stokes – Tucson, AZ
My own experience has been varied. In the 80’s I had a very active involvement in the local evangelical association. There were difficulties, but as long as we stayed on Jesus we were OK. We all shared a love for the Lord and a desire to reach others for Him. The prayer meetings were interesting, since they didn’t pray in tongues. It was a test of patience for me. We were able to do some outreaches and some prayer and musical events that at least demonstrated a unified front to the city.

The biggest benefit I received was the acquaintance with men from different backgrounds. Though we certainly didn’t agree on everything, I did see the commitment and calling in their lives and learned to appreciate them as men and as disciples of Christ. This group developed enough trust that we actually referred people to each other for counseling if one of us had an area of specific expertise that could benefit the parishioners. I still have contact with some of these men after these many years. The community was benefitted by seeing a group of churches that actually worked together on some projects.

In my next assignment I was not so fortunate. The association came to an untimely end in a dispute over whether to include Mormons in the group. It was a very difficult experience, but it did help me understand Ezekiel and his flint-hard forehead. Since that time I have given more time to trying to help pastors and ministers who share my general faith and Spirit paradigm. As I get a little older I find I have to ration not only my time, but my energy. I look for the places I can make an impact. I guess the best advice I could give would be to try it out and look for ways to be a blessing. If they go in a direction that violates principle, speak the truth in love.

Pastor Jim Graff – Victoria, TX
Fellowship with other pastors can lead to positive things or to pitfalls for sure. My advice is to avoid the pitfalls—requests for time that aren’t productive, discussions that aren’t productive, programs you aren’t called to. However, we should also be examples of productive unity. Jesus’ prayer is for all believers to be one (John 17). We have seen many great things happen through our unity. Great events that honor public servants, bless wounded soldiers, minister to important social needs and preserve our Christian heritage have all resulted from our unity. I’ve felt God pleased as I’ve attempted to be a peacemaker.

This was a great question. I have been a part of several ministerial groups, as well as, pastoral prayer groups, and support teams. All of my experiences have been very positive. Keep in mind, for most ministers, an alliance is designed to be a place for fellowship, insight, and ministerial perspective. Many Pastors enjoy trying to create a community infrastructure that allows the churches to come together on community issues as well. Although I agree, some individuals may try to debate doctrine in some of these groups, the majority of pastors and ministers I have met, have put community interest, fellowship, and ministerial interest above doctrine. I currently attend a monthly prayer breakfast with ministers from various denominations, and doctrine has never been an issue.

My time has been well spent learning from other seasoned ministers and community leaders that have the best interest of the church, and community, at heart. There are many people who attend that have beliefs that differ from mine, but my time there has benefited me in so many ways. I’ve met believers who love God; I even had an opportunity to meet a new accountability partner. In Proverbs 27 verse 17, “A friendly discussion is as stimulating as the sparks that fly when iron strikes iron.” (TLB) I have gained some good insights from people, who may not believe everything I believe, but they have a heart for souls, and a heart for our community.

Pastor Terry Roberts – Warrenton, MO
When I first came to the town I pastor in, our church had a bad reputation. Since we are a Charismatic church, there was a fear and suspicion attached to us. I started participating in the local ministerial alliance and actually became its president for many years. As a result, we were able to rise above our bad reputation and actually connect with the people and other churches in town. The Catholic church actually let me preach from their pulpit as a protestant minister. Many other good things have come out of that association.

There are certainly divergent views on theology among us, but we chose to establish Jesus Christ and His Lordship as the common denominator. It has been very helpful to us and I think out influence on other churches has been helpful to them.

Pastor Jerry Weinzierl – Sterling Heights, MI
It depends what your expectations are of the group, and (for me) the frequency. If it’s monthly, it’s probably not going to happen; too much going on for me to commit to a monthly meeting of that nature. If I see a value in hanging out with people that are already in a place (growth, leadership skills, influence) that I am striving for, I will make it more of a priority.

My doctrinal differences are never a barrier. I don’t allow them to become a problem.

Pastor Tim Phillips – Harrison, AR
It has been my privilege to be involved with my local Ministerial Alliance for many years. I have even served as president of the group for a period of time. I have found it a great opportunity to work with other pastors and have fellowship on a local basis. Even though we may come from different churches, we have a common statement of belief that we ascribe to. We, the local ministers, made it simple yet clear as to what we believe. It includes:


  • To provide fellowship and to nurture one another in personal, professional and spiritual growth.
  • To speak as one voice on various issues as they arise which may have impact on our community.


  • The common ground for membership is the common belief in the saving work of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, alone for salvation.
  • Membership is open to those pastors, associate pastors, and church staff who have shepherding responsibilities in like churches.

We meet on a monthly basis for fellowship and a meal. As a group, we have hosted a community Thanksgiving Service, in which the offering goes to a local charity, the National Day of Prayer event and to supply a speaker for the High School Baccalaureate Service.

This group has connected me to the larger body of Christ in our area. The group has also sponsored work projects in the community to assist local people, schools and non-profit organizations. The positives have outweighed any of the negatives.

Pastor Duane Hanson – Saint Paul, MN
I’ve been fortunate to have years of experience in this area, and most of those experiences have been very positive. I’ve been involved with a local Pastor’s Prayer Group for over 15 years, and participated as a member of the leadership team that helped create a fellowship of ministers from across the metro area that meets monthly, known as Mission St. Paul.

Our pastor’s prayer group meets weekly to pray for one another, encourage one another, bring Godly & Biblical counsel to one another, and most importantly, fellowship around our one common denominator—Jesus! We’ve grown to trust and respect the giftedness in each other, even to the point that we can share our personal prayer needs with one another in confidentiality. Some of us have even participated in each other’s services, and filled each other’s pulpits when necessary. If the ministerial alliance or group in your area does not have that basic foundation, I’m not sure it would work very well, or last very long. If I wanted to be involved in a group that just deals with “social issues” in the community, I’d connect with the local Council of Churches; however, that’s not what our community needs from the leaders of our local churches!

Our pastor’s prayer group represents a wide variety of Christian denominations, associations, and affiliations; including every flavor of Evangelical, Charismatic, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Church of God, Covenant, Lutheran, Presbyterian, as well as an Episcopal Priest, and an Orthodox Priest! (We even had a Catholic Charismatic Priest for a couple years in our community before he was reassigned.) It is also a very diverse ethnic, cultural and multiracial group of ministers. Even though we can agree to disagree about certain doctrinal issues, what has bound us together all these years is a basic biblical understanding and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and the Bible as the foundation of our faith. We’ve also noticed that those who have come and visited our group that are more liberal in their theology have a tendency not to hang around very long. It has been well worth my time to be involved with men & women of like precious faith!

Three words come to mind when I think of our local pastor’s prayer group, and the fellowship of ministers involved with Mission St. Paul:

  1. Unity
  2. Wholeness
  3. Oneness

There are three scriptures that also come to mind when inviting other ministers to consider joining this group:

Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Haggai 2:9 (MSG)
This Temple (a prophetic picture of the Body of Christ) is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness…

John 17:22-23
The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are—I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me.

Let me address the concern about the potential “pitfalls” of being involved with pastors from “varying backgrounds.” I was recently involved in a round table discussion that addressed this subject. What I heard from some of the participants was their fear of being contaminated by the traditions & doctrines of these other ministers. It’s true that Jesus warned His disciples about the influence of the religious leaders of His day, but He also taught the disciples how to be established in their own Faith, and the need to resist the doubt and unbelief of others. I’m very secure in my faith, and I know WHOM and what I believe! I’ve had many opportunities to explain, defend, and be a living example of my word of faith position to those who have held false or preconceived ideas about my religious heritage connected to RHEMA.

The obvious benefit of being involved in a ministers group is revealed in Proverbs 27:17, which states “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” According to other translations, what gets sharpened is their “countenance, mind, wits, & friendship.” As the NCV puts it, the real benefit is…”As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other!

Pastor Phil Edwards – Ennice, NC
I think being involved with the other pastors in the community is great. First, it gives the other pastors a chance to get to know you. It gives you a chance to affirm yourself to the group. Secondly, it gives the community an avenue to find out who you are and that you’re not some flakey individual. Thirdly, you stay in touch with the local body of Christ and the direction it is moving. Fourth, it gives you the opportunity to get it involved in the community along with the other churches with outreach programs such as Operation In-As-Much which helps the needy and elderly. Last, you develop relationships with the local pastors that will last a life time such as I have with Bob Miller a local Methodist pastor and Tim Stamper a local baptist pastor.

Pastor Gil Zaragoza – El Paso, TX
It really depends on what the mission, strategy, and goal of the ministerial alliance is. Yes, it’s obvious that local churches in our cities are going to differ in beliefs, but upon praying about it first, if the mission, strategy, and goal strongly bears witness with your spirit (Romans 8:14-16; Proverbs 20:27) that this is a good alliance to connect with, then go for it and join. If not, then don’t!

Pastor Brad Holliman – Vancouver, BC, Canada
I have been a part of 3 ministerial alliance groups in our local area. I have found my time in them mixed. You will do a lot of praying in tongues silently, but you will also find some great “faith” people in very unexpected places.

Like anything, the benefit we receive from these groups will only be reflected by what we put into them. For me, the greatest benefits have been in having friendships with other pastors in my area, not the depth of spirituality in the meeting. If I need a good message, I can get that online. But face time can only be had in the local coffee shop.

There aren’t many of us “faith” pastors in our area, and I have benefited greatly by having some good men in my life when I needed some encouragement and a timely word in a hard time in pastoring.

As a story to illustrate this: a few years ago we were walking through the darkest hour of our ministry. Day two into this trial I get a phone call from the Mennonite pastor/elder leading the local ministerial alliance asking to pay me a visit. When he arrived at my office he gave me a spot on word about what was going on and how I was to walk through it. He is the most charismatic, non-charismatic I know, and I have repeatedly been blessed by his involvement in my life, which only would have happened in the ministerial group.

Pastor Thom Fields – Kennewick, WA
Obviously, there are a plethora of pastoral gatherings meeting across the nation today. I’ve found, in our area, that clearly understanding the purpose, vision, and culture of the group is vital. Some are very prayer oriented—well, others are strictly relational in nature. Finding a group of men that you can stand with, agree with, and pray with is tremendous! Getting stuck in a group that sits together, complains to each other, and stabs each other is horrid.

Philippians 2:1-4 (MSG)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet- talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

I believe this passage can help define the role that you would want to play in such a group. If you can find people who will love you, who you can agree with, and with whom you can become deep-spirited friends—you’ve found a great group! If you don’t find this type of environment…it can be a big waste of time, effort, resources, and energy.

Again, the important ingredients are: Purpose—what is this group going to accomplish? Vision—how do they intend to do so? And Culture—what are the parameters that they’ve agreed to work within?

There is great strength in numbers and your city will appreciate pastors praying and serving together. However, if it’s just a group to get together and drink coffee and complain about people…you might as well join rotary. At least at rotary club you will have some fun!