Recently I participated in a prayer conference that was nothing short of amazing—a conference that could not have happened perhaps even a decade ago. The Praying Church Conference, was sponsored by Doug Small and Prayer Alive Ministries, but was also co-sponsored by the Church of God (Cleveland) and held at the Church at Liberty Square (COG) in Cartersville, Georgia. More than 500 attended.What was so amazing about the event was that there were large numbers of participants from two vastly different denominations—Church of God and Southern Baptist—both in attendance and among the speaking line-up.
One of the evening events saw Doug interview a Southern Baptist pastor who had recently seen a significant move of God in his church. It was both powerful and fascinating to watch two leaders who would traditionally have had different views on what marked a move of God, highlighting and praising God for what He was doing among the other group. Later Doug spoke about how we could be in unity with each other. He commented that there is a core theology that we all agree about—especially related to who Christ is, what He has done for us, and what our mission should be (reach lost people). But we all come from different tribes (in the same way the 12 tribes of Israel were different) with our own idiosyncrasies and emphases. The problem has been that we have too often taken those idiosyncrasies and emphases, and made them core theology. When that happens we won’t fellowship together.