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Sharing life together

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–Life isn’t meant to be lived as a lone ranger. We need one another. God created us to live as a community of believers, people who share life together.

Sharing life together means helping one another grow through the experiences of life in communion with God and one another.

Joe McKeever, as director of missions in New Orleans, has chosen to share his life and experience with a group of young pastors. On Mondays, McKeever meets with a group of pastors at a local fast food restaurant. Then on Wednesdays, he meets with a second group of pastors in his office. That makes for a busy week but it’s a sacrifice he is willing to make.

“I have a heart for young pastors,” says McKeever. “I remember what it was like to be a young pastor and not have a clue how to handle certain situations.”

Most of the pastors are in their 20s or 30s with less than 10 years of pastoral experience. Their time of sharing begins with McKeever saying, “Let’s talk. What are some needs you have right now?”

The conversation usually flows quite freely after the opening question, sometimes affecting others around them.

On one occasion, two women overheard the conversation about how in our suffering, God becomes more precious. Both women were new Christians. One of the women had a 15-year-old son who had died in a car wreck three months earlier. The other woman had two miscarriages and a stillborn child. The group of young pastors surrounded the women and prayed.

McKeever is not alone in his desire to help young men and young people.

Waylon Bailey started sharing his life with young men in his church, First Baptist Church in Covington, La., for two reasons. First, after Hurricane Katrina, there was a crisis of leadership in the church. Many leaders had relocated. Second, Bailey recognized he had a strong group of godly young men who had the potential to do great things for God.

This wasn’t a new idea for Bailey. He and his wife, Martha, came to First Baptist 18 years ago. The first thing they noticed was the lack of young adults. The couple prayed and determined to start a new class to meet the need. The group of people in their 20s met at the Baileys’ home to hang out and get to know each other. “That group is so close to us,” Waylon Bailey says now. “They know where our forks and spoons, pots and pans are. They know our home inside and out. Now that first group teaches classes in the church. They are our deacons. They love us and are intensely loyal to their pastor.”

Bailey asked for a one-year commitment from his post-Katrina group of 18 men. They met once a month in the Baileys’ home. At the first meeting, Waylon started with salvation to be sure of each man’s walk with the Lord. He continued with issues of need in the church, and then showed them how they could affect those needs.

After the year was over, the group wanted to continue meeting. “They loved it. We included our wives and had a great time together.”

Next time Bailey says he will take a little longer with the men. Still, he is ready to do it again.

The investment to share life together requires sacrifice and commitment. However, the rewards are great in both the Kingdom and the local congregation.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.

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  • Keith Manuel