Stories are important. As we share our stories, we are like the stars that shine in the night sky. The spiritual realm of darkness is cast out as we praise our God in the heavenly realms. As those stories multiply, the light becomes brighter and penetrates the hearts of mankind. As each one shares and hears these stories, God's people become stronger and unification of the Church occurs. Multiplication has incredible potential: Every person, every church, intentionally and aggressively advancing the Kingdom of God. That's why we are asking you to share your stories. Tell us how God has moved and is moving. Let's cast out the darkness.
Contact Janie Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your story.
By Rob Hill, Pastor at King’s Way Alliance Church, Akron, OH
Better together. That’s the phrase we began using when we started meeting together. Who are we? A group of Akron area CMA pastors. We came together around a common cause of advancing the Kingdom through collaborating together. And even though the church’s pattern is typically to segregate from other churches, we are determined not to do that anymore.
Our first ‘event’ that we planned together was Good Friday 2019. Now, Akron Alliance Fellowship, CrossPoint Alliance Church, King’s Way Alliance Church, and Riverside Alliance Church had already been collaborating for years to bless their ‘Jerusalem’. However, God wanted to expand their reach. So for the past couple of years, Really Recovered Church and the local Hmong Alliance Church joined them. However, for Good Friday this year, Stow Alliance Fellowship and Chapel Hill Church came on board making this an eight-church Collaboration. Chapel Hill hosted the service. We banded together in an effort to ignore silly dividers (eg. cultural norms, ethnic divisions, socio-economic division, or even politics!).
Having come to faith later in life, I didn’t have a wide body of experience with Good Friday services. With that said, I would say that this was the best one I got to be involved in. From beginning to end, it was an evening that truly reflected the desire of being better together. Pastor Ken Hawkins of the Really Recovered Church kicked off the service with a brief video explaining who Really Recovered is – a local church plant of recovering addicts who love Jesus and want to see Him proclaimed. An offering of $2,522.72 was received for the Really Recovered Sober Minded House. The atmosphere in the building was electric!
The worship team from the Hmong Alliance Church led us into a time of sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as we prepared our hearts to hear from the Lord through Rev. David Yoder of CrossPoint. He shared with us a message entitled ‘The Ninth Hour is Here’. Rev. Jim Souza and his wife Dawn from Riverside played a contemplative song to close out the sermon. If the evening had ended there, we would have all walked away blessed…but we still had communion! Rev. John Kitchen from Stow and Rev. Gus Brown from Akron Alliance brought us into an amazing communion experience. Rev. Brown used a hanger to illustrate the idea that we can hang our sins on Jesus and walk away in freedom. Then, Rev. Kitchen taught us that the opposite of ‘remember’ isn’t to forget. It’s ‘dismember’ and when we come together and do these things (particularly communion), we are putting back together the things that had previously been dismembered (our relationships both with God and with others).
As the evening drew to a close, Rev. Travis Jackson from Akron Alliance had all the pastors of the represented churches who were in attendance stand on the platform, while we and the congregation sang the Doxology. What a beautiful kaleidoscope of God’s people working together to indeed bless not only our congregations, but demonstrate that we are one Church, with many franchises. In the words of Psalm 133:1-2, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron...”
So to recap: 8 churches collaborated, 400 people worshipped, and $2,522.72 was raised, all in the name of 1 King! Click here if you’d like to see the service for yourself (or navigate your browser to https://vimeo.com/336667055).
This isn’t the end for the cohort of pastors in the Akron area. As one of the pastor’s stated, we do not want to look back in 10 years and think, “Man that was a good time.” We want to look back and think, “That’s when it all began—now look what God has done!” We have plans and God-sized dreams of greater kingdom impact by continuing to collaborate. Each of the pastors have spheres of influence that they can leverage for even greater impact. We are looking for future opportunities to serve our community and firmly believe that we are indeed better together. There was an energy and a synergy that everyone experienced that evening. From pastors and praise leaders to people sitting in the lobby, we all witnessed just a piece of what it will be like in heaven where every tribe, nation, and tongue will come together and praise the Risen King. Maranatha!