One of the attributes that makes a good pastor is his willingness to cooperate with others.
A good example of this is the part a pastor plays in his community gathering of pastors. Such a group is composed of all the pastors/ministers serving churches in the community. I have been a part of some good ones over the years. What makes or breaks the effort is the willingness of pastors to cooperate with one another and to make the times of visioning and prayer a priority.
Although each pastor differs some from the others in what he believes about God and His Word, the group chooses, despite their differences, to work and pray together toward the common good of their community. This can only happen when the pastor is willing to cooperate with others.
Where does this spirit of cooperation come from anyway? I believe it comes from God Himself. Nothing about cooperation comes naturally. It has to be taught, modeled and learned.
How do we pick up and learn this thing called cooperation? It is taught to us by others, usually our parents and teachers. When parents encourage their children to get along and play together, they are teaching cooperation for the good of everyone involved. When we learn those lessons as children I believe they help us to get along with others for the rest of our lives.
I like the picture above. I would venture a guess that some parents are close by encouraging their kids to share and work together in building that sand castle. Were the picture a 30 minute video I am sure we would see a few problems and lots of good illustrations as to why cooperating together is the better option.
Through the years, I have noticed that for some pastors community cooperation does not come naturally. It is a chore to be a part of a group outside the boundaries they have set for themselves. As a result, they are not comfortable doing things outside their own church family. This is a tough one for those of us who are naturally outgoing and think all should cooperate at the same level we have chosen. It's hard for us to accept someone who stays to themselves. But we should!
Sometimes, especially when a pastor is new to the community, he might need someone who can come alongside him, invest in him and help him know others in the community. Still, some will not want to do that no matter what. That does not make them bad or wrong, just different from you maybe.
Cooperation is a hallmark among churches here in the south. This was not always the case. We have seen a change as our churches have begun to emphasize Kingdom goals and efforts over solely those of one local church. We should want to cooperate in getting the Lord's work done.
I thank God for those who have gone before me and who have taught me the value of cooperation in both life and in ministry.