More than thirty years ago, it was my first stint as a youth pastor and our Youth Extravaganza! was going to be amazing. One of the old-time leaders of our denomination was going to preach a “wing-ding” of a message. There would be special music and ice cream sundaes afterward.
We printed up fliers and posters, and sent letters to every church in our city. We went out of our way to specially invite the other churches of our denomination.
The big night came – but only the youth in our own church showed up.
I was terribly embarrassed. I was embarrassed for myself and my youth who worked so hard to invite others. I was ashamed that no other churches, especially those of our denomination, showed up. I was horrified for our guest who preached to a near-empty auditorium.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I experienced this kind of Christian fellowship.
Churches located next to each other, with near identical beliefs, won’t cooperate. Each group is concerned in protecting its own money and attendance figures.
Just as bad, Christians live next door to each other and won’t even speak.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).