Pastoring the CityI am often amused at young church planters that launch out with the perspective that it is up to them to reach the city for Jesus. As a church planter myself, I remember thinking our church would be the better alternative than the church down the road. How needed were the hard realities and loving prompting of the Father to remind me: “His Church, His People, His Way!”

I have just returned from a gathering of three hundred pastors that represent segments of the church within the Sacramento, California region. These pastors have been meeting for approximately eight years. The gathering, called the City Pastors Fellowship, meets every other month for a time of sharing and encouragement. It has profoundly impacted the Northern California region. The success of the group results from the following principles:

  • The main focus is on encouraging and building relationships among senior pastors within the community.
  • The group is interdenominational, multigenerational, multicultural, and multiethnic. Also, men and women serve equally.
  • A mega-church pastor does not lead the leadership team.
  • Congregations of all sizes are represented.
  • A simple format, including lunch, a word of encouragement, and prayer.
  • Personal agendas and egos are set aside to emphasize that each pastor and each church is necessary for reaching our community.

This group works from the understanding that each pastor serves as a spiritual leader and resource for the city as a whole. All connect and collaborate to form a pastoral partnership team that demonstrates unity and focus. Pastors are finding that indeed we are “better together.”

City transformation is occurring through joint efforts of adopt-a-school programs in underserved areas, community service days, Pentecost Sunday pulpit swaps, and joint annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration celebrations. We are becoming less impressed with our own individual ministries and more enthused about how the Father has brought unity through pastors and people after His own heart in attitude and perspective.

Reflection: What leader am I to partner with in order to better serve the city?

Today’s entry is by guest blogger, Dr. Parnell Lovelace.

Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr., MSW, D.Min.
Lovelace Leadership Connection
Rancho Cordova, California

As the successful founding pastor of 3000 member Center of Praise Ministries, Sacramento, California, Parnell M Lovelace, Jr. serves as an apostolic strategist, merging the Church with the social constructs of urban community. He holds a MSW, University of Oklahoma; MPTH Oral Roberts University, and D.Min., Talbot School of Theology.