Tracy Hipps, the Executive Director of Christian Service Mission, meets with local pastors about every six weeks. The purpose of these meetings is to develop relationships with the pastors. There are over 40 pastors that meet in 7 different groups. These pastors are from diverse cultural and denominational backgrounds. Tracy says that the “cross-cultural relationships are eye-opening.” The meetings are not agenda led; the whole goal is to get to know each other, talk about ministry, and learn from one another.
The conversation often centers on cultural differences, theology, and politics. They talk openly about racism, the church, and division in our culture. They focus on what the Bible says and how believers should respond. This open and transparent discussion allows pastors to share their lives, testimonies, struggles, and problems within the church. Then they can address how to bear them. As the relationships between these pastors deepen, they have opened up their churches to each other. Several of these pastors have even invited one another to preach at their church. Some of the churches have served together at CSM. The pastors get to meet, and then their congregations meet as well. The goal of this collaboration is that people will realize “our differences don’t make a difference.” We all have the same Bible, and our priorities should be the same- priorities of loving God, making disciples, and loving your neighbor. CSM hopes to break down the walls of division in our community. Barriers based on race, color, class, or anything else. We are one church and should operate as one.
Our mission is to support and empower the local church. CSM works with other nonprofits, disasters, politicians, and politics. But its primary target and most of its energy and focus go to the local church. To equip and walk with them. To help achieve the vision of the church and its pastor.