Yesterday morning, I was getting ready to preach at our daughter church (Providence Church), when this crazy idea came to my mind. You see, also yesterday morning at Grace, Jamin Stinziano who is a pastor of Summit Church (in Estero, FL) brought the word. So a Grace pastor was at Providence, and a Summit pastor was at Grace. I suppose you could say the pastors were doing a little shufflin’.
But thinking about it a little more seriously, I wonder what it would be like if there was an intentional effort to do “the pastor shuffle” every 3 months in a certain area. Local, like-minded sister churches can benefit from the encouragement of other pastors and preachers in the area, and the shuffling pastor would have the opportunity to bring greetings as well as share what God is doing as a matter of prayer request and kingdom encouragement.
I thought about this seriously because something like the pastor shuffle would communicate a lot about local churches and the kingdom of God. What God is doing here is so much bigger than any local church, and if we truly care about His kingdom come, we should celebrate it in places and ways other than our local church. Furthermore, the pastor shuffle will be a counter-cultural move to kill the spirit of competition and “turf wars” among local churches. We are, after all, on the same team. So why don’t we intentionally try to promote and celebrate that reality?
In January, I saw this kind of vision in action while in Haiti. All the pastors in our network plugged into the life of other churches as though it was their own local church. One pastor led in singing. Another helped with the children. Others still led in congregational prayer. When they could serve and bless other churches, it was their joy. And when I could see and experience it, I was deeply moved.
So here’s to the pastor shuffle. I hope something like this could happen around the country. Do you think it would work where you live, among the churches in your area?