Yesterday, while I was still in Chicago, I had an opportunity to meet one of the local pastors in Evanston. I really didn’t know what to expect because from the last couple of meetings with other pastors and church leaders, I did not receive a warm welcome – to put it bluntly, they were a bit aloof, stand-offish and cold. Many of these pastors were trying to say to me in so many words, “We don’t need another church here because there are so many in the Evanston area.” My flesh wanted to go through this mentality exercise: 1) How many people are in the Evanston area? 2) How many of those people are churched or even believers? 3) How many of them go to your church? 4) Who will reach out to the rest of the __% of people? 5) Do you feel that one church or the churches that are in Evanston can do it all alone?
But the Spirit of God put a check on me and reminded me that this would not help with unity, and it would not be a good way to start a church in the area. 🙂
This is the reason why I was so blessed to meet a fellow pastor who had a Kingdom vision and a Kingdom heart. One of the first things he said to me as we were talking was, “I wanted to say ‘Welcome,’ and it is great that you are starting a church here!” I was a bit taken aback since I did not get that kind of reception from my last few meetings with other pastors. As we were talking, it dawned upon me that there are so many pastors who are territorial for their own kingdom. Usually churches do not go very far when this is the pervasive thought, especially in the minds of the leaders.
It was refreshing to talk with this pastor about raising the water level in Evanston. The phrase that many people in the Kingdom-minded camp use is – “If you raise the water level (spiritual climate and see more people brought into the Kingdom), all the boats go up (all the churches benefit). It is so easy to forget this. When the water level gets higher, it is not just one boat that goes up but ALL the boats in the pier rise! This is why we need to cheer other churches on… this is why we need to desire other churches to do well… why? Because… if they do well, then we will do well. Lord, help us to build YOUR Kingdom and not our own.