This month, four churches will set aside agendas to focus on unity. I have a unique perspective — I grew up in church. My dad was a pastor, I was a PK.
As far back as I can remember, church was most always about what happened within the four walls of the church building. I mean, new people were welcome, but they would join our thing, do things our way and eventually they would talk like us and act like us. I thought that was normal, how most churches saw things; it was all I knew.
In 1996, my Dad, Mike Rhodehamel, became the pastor of what was then called Wilmington Living Word and is now Faith Family Church. He was sent from my home church to pastor an existing group of people who had become a satellite church of the much larger church I grew up in.
My dad had been a youth pastor, a church administrator, new construction supervisor, Christian school administrator, and even had his own radio program for several years. Growing up, he would always work together with other people from other churches, he loved everyone and still does. He didn’t grow up in the church, so he didn’t see any reason why churches should not get along and work together.
As he got settled in his new role, he began meeting and praying weekly with other pastors here in Clinton County. It was a new idea to some, but seemed like a good idea. There were no agendas, no jockeying for position, no bragging about accomplishments, just good old-fashioned prayer. Prayer for one another, prayer for our community, prayer for God to encourage and grow each and every church that would preach Jesus crucified.
Prayer is a powerful agent for change in a community!
Today, 20 years later, many local pastors have carried the baton and kept a commitment to pray together weekly or as often as their schedule would allow. As many as 12 local churches have been represented by leaders who made it a priority to lay down agendas and simply pray for God to move in the lives of others.
That prayer has changed our lives, it has changed our churches, and it has changed our community!
Shane Rhodehamel has been the lead pastor of Faith Family Church since 2006. He has been married to his wife Amie for 17 years and they have three kids who are involved in Wilmington Middle School. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org