Central Church of Christ, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, and Polk Street United Methodist are all coming together this Sunday night at First Baptist to worship our Lord together. And it’s old hat!
The “4Amarillo” churches in downtown Amarillo have been worshiping and serving together for so long now, and so regularly, that it’s become kinda ordinary. Uneventful. Almost hum-drum.
I think that’s remarkable in and of itself. Over the past seven years, by the grace of God, we’ve made churches crossing denominational barriers to sing and pray together, share the Lord’s Meal, and serve our city as one group a commonplace occurrence in Amarillo. It doesn’t feel historic anymore when the Methodist guy preaches in the Church of Christ worship center. It doesn’t feel extraordinary when we pray for each other’s churches during our own worship assemblies. It feels very normal. Very natural. And I praise God for that.
But just when we begin to think the “4Amarillo” movement is not that big a deal, we’re reminded that it truly is.
Christianity Today, the national magazine for church leaders that reaches five-million readers a month, is highlighting “4Amarillo” in its current issue. I don’t know how they found out about it, I don’t know who tipped them off. Murray Gossett, the associate pastor at First Pres, is the one quoted in the story, and I haven’t spoken to him yet about how it all came about.
The article is about what CT calls the “inspirational, interdenominational, multi-congregational ministry movement.” There are other organizations in other cities featured along with “4Amarillo,” but we’ve got top billing. You can read the full story by clicking here.
This Sunday night is our seventh annual 4Amarillo Thanksgiving Service. There will be over a thousand of us from our four churches in attendance. The combined chorus will be more than a hundred men and women strong, made up of our individual praise teams and choirs. I’m in charge of the welcome and the call to worship. Our worship minister at Central, Kevin Schaffer, is singing a solo. Mark Welshimire, the lead pastor at Polk Street, is preaching the sermon. Our mayor, Ginger Nelson, is giving the benediction. We are gathering together in the presence of God, in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue tearing down the walls that divide God’s people and testify in word and deed to the healing, saving, reconciling, and uniting work of the risen and coming Prince of Peace.
As familiar as it is to us now, it’s not old hat. No, it’s the eternal will of our Father and the earnest prayer of our King. And it still seems like a pretty big deal.