John, in his gospel, draws his readers into an intimate moment Jesus shares with the Father toward the end of His physical life on earth. He prays for Himself, then for His disciples, and, at the conclusion of His prayer, He prays for all future believers. He prays, “I do not pray for these alone (a reference to His present followers), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21). Over two thousand years ago Jesus prayed for your church and my church, that we would be one just like He and the Father are one.
Whenever I share this passage with my church family, I share how Jesus was praying for Greece Assembly of God, First Bible Baptist, Lakeshore Community, Hope Lutheran, and the list goes on of the Gospel preaching churches in our community. Jesus prayed that we would be one. This is the Lord’s Prayer! He desires for us to network, to connect, and to interact with each other to further His work and strengthen the witness of His Church—“that the world may believe that You sent Me.” When we network, our light shines brighter in the darkness. God has one team. It’s a great team made up of a collection of great people with different gifts and worship styles, but the same mission.
In our community, we pray together on a monthly basis, hold several joint services throughout the year, and thirteen churches support a community outreach center called Mission Share. The center operates with volunteers from all the different churches. We support each other by serving at one another’s events and by giving our time and resources. Great pastors and leaders are willing to collaborate with other strategic forward-thinking pastors and leaders; they are not an island unto themselves. Networking will sharpen your tools, strengthen your team, and increase your ministry effectiveness.
Patrick Medeiros has served at Greece Assembly of God for the past 29 years, the first 9 as the youth pastor and the last 20 as the senior pastor. He is married to his wife Tina of 25 years, has four children, and one daughter-in-law. He loves to fish, coach baseball, golf, and go on vacation with his family.