A Letter to the Church in…Jefferson Hills, or Your Town or City

Recently, I joined several other pastors for lunch so we could say our farewells to a pastor who was moving to another community.  As he was stating what he would remember most he made a statement that stuck with me, challenged me, saddened me, and even excited me.  He said he would remember us as the Church in Jefferson Hills in the same way Paul referred to local congregations in the Bible as the Church in Cenchrea, the Church in Corinth, or the Church in Thessalonica.

This challenged me because I have always felt that denominational differences sometimes caused more separation of local congregations instead of bringing them together as the Church.  The local pastors I had lunch with and I had often sought ways to bring the denominations within our community together as the body of Christ.  The departing pastor’s encouragement challenged me to continue to look for ways for the churches to be the Church.

It saddened me because despite our best efforts there were still those who felt they were Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptist or whatever first…and Christ followers somewhere much further down the line.

It excited me because when I read Paul’s letters in the Bible, he addressed them to one unified Church in each city.  Even though there were numerous congregations meeting all over the cities in various houses and other locations Paul saw them all as one Church.  He was able to look past the differences and past what separated everyone to what bound them together.  This is what is possible for the Church in Jefferson Hills and for the one in your town or city.

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