On December 10th, 2008, a meeting occurred at House Blend Cafe in Ocoee, FL with a group of pastors from some of the churches across the West Orange County area. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how we could be the church TOGETHER to the people of West Orange County and beyond. We all agreed that beginning in 2009, we MUST forsake being territorial, being focused on “growing our own churches,” being concerned about the culture coming to church buildings on Sunday mornings, and rather go and serve the people of West Orange County right where they are with attention to the needs that they are dealing with at this time.
We also talked about the importance of giving energy to the “overlooked and ignored.” The “least of these” as Jesus described it in Matthew 25. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Giving water to the thirsty. Housing the homeless. Visiting the imprisoned. Not recreating the wheel. But rather more intensely supporting the various ministries already existing here, while creating new ones that would fill in the gaps.
It simply makes sense to be one. One church with one savior and one purpose – the same purpose Jesus had. To love God and to love people. One church with many expressions. Unity doesn’t equal unanimity. Distinctives will continue to exist, but not as dividers. Rather as differences used in the midst of unity to be strengths that will sharpen all of us. Those distinctives existing in our gatherings and our various local expressions, but churches unified to love and serve the people of West Orange County in ways that will compassionately help in the now and definitively shape the future of our community.
So who’s in? The list of churches is coming soon. And we pray it will be growing. Let’s be the church to the people of West Orange County TOGETHER.