Love Fox Valley
I haven’t experienced much church unity in my life. I don’t necessarily mean within a church, though that’s been bad at times too, but unity between local churches. The unity of the entire body of Christ in a given city or region. There are three main ways I’ve experienced the relationship between local churches:
- Uninterested: When the most you know about the church on the other corner is that the sign out front says, “Ch_ _ch, what’s missing?”
- Inferior: Whether it’s because of doctrine, size, building, or softball team, you know you’re better than they are. The best example of this I’ve heard is when one church asked the church across the field to play a softball game and they were asked for their docrinal statement. The other church looked at the statement and then decilined to play. (Both churches from Evangelical denominations!)
- Competition: I have sat around with people from MY church bemoaining the gains of other local churches. Talking about how they’re taking “our” people. No one likes to admit this one, most of the time people won’t, but it’s real.
It’s sad really. Jesus prayed that all those who followed him would be one in the way he was one with the Father. Paul yelled at the Corinthians on paper for creating distinctions between themselves rather than focusing on their unity in Christ. We are supposed to be unified with all those who are a part of the body of Christ.
In the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to see what this unity is supposed to look like. It’s come in the form of a person and an organization. The person is Randy Schoof, pastor of the Warehouse Church here in Aurora. You can’t talk to Randy for more than two minutes without hearing about the importance of unity, and he devotes himself to helping it happen. (More on that in a second, because that’s the organization.) Since we moved to Aurora Randy has been one of our greatest supporters. If y0u are about following Jesus and helping others do the same then he is with you. The first time I met him he offered to let us meet in their building, told me to let him know if there was anything we needed, and introduced me to a bunch of people from other churches. He is about Christ’s Church, all of it.
Which brings me to Love Fox Valley. This is the culmination of the efforts of a number of people, including Randy, to bring unity and action to the Aurora and Fox River Valley area by the church, the whole church. It is more of a network than an organization. The whole church in the area functioning together to show and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ. We had a meeting for it last week and there were at least 30 churches and ministries represented there, maybe more. There aren’t many places where this is happening, and I’m thankful I get to be a part of it.