Oneness in Oregon: God’s Love Sung, Taught, and Extended in Display of Unity

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Western

By Carl Stagner

God’s love knows no boundaries. The invitation to come and be saved and sanctified is open to all; Jesus the subject—not the name over the church door, the primary language spoken, the dominant ethnicity or culture of a congregation, a preferred style of worship, or a finer point of doctrine. In a stunningly beautiful display of oneness, several churches in La Grande, Oregon, recently let go of the reins of their Sunday morning experience to worship together on a downtown city lot called Max Square. “Gospel in the Square” not only celebrated and answered, in part, Jesus’ prayer in John 17 “that they may be one,” but also demonstrated the truth of and love of Jesus to a watching world.

So, how did this annual event begin? Pastor Tim McCart of the city’s Church of God congregation, Crossroads Community Church, provides a brief history.

“This is an annual event each July that has occurred for the past eight years,” he notes. “Crossroads began participating four years ago as a result of my connection with the pastors involved. It is now a collaborative worship service between the Christ Church, First Baptist Church, The Way (SBC), and Crossroads, held at the town square, across from the City Hall. This year, the First Baptist Church joined us and our attendance at the event was approximately 250 people. The service consists of worship music, a message from one of the pastors (we alternate from year to year), prayer for our community, and a lunch hosted by the churches.”

Of course, there’s extra work involved when something out of the ordinary comes up on the calendar. Throw in different churches from different denominations and varying styles and preferences, and there’s got to be a clear motivation for the extra effort. Unity, of course, requires effort; the work, of course, is worth it.

“This is an outcome of meeting together with the pastors of those churches, along with another independent church in our local area each Wednesday for prayer and connection,” Tim states. “Our relationship as fellow pastors runs deep, and we encourage one another, engage in mutual support (sometimes financially for a project or need), and practice accountability, as we all know how much we need that. This is far different than any ‘ministerium’ I have been a part of through the years; this is a mutual bond between co-laborers in the community. The fruit in the growth of every one of these churches is evidence of what the Holy Spirit is doing.”

It’s not about someone’s turf. There isn’t a territorial war or competition among these churches, because they know they’re on the same team. The advancement of the kingdom of God is what matters most. When everyone approaches such collaboration with that kind of Spirit sensitivity, the result will surely glorify God, bless his people, and represent Jesus well.

Crossroads Community Church exterior

“The service went exceptionally well this year,” Pastor Tim recounts. “The venue was packed, the event was well-organized, food was donated and prepared, shade cloth was temporarily installed to cover the bulk of the area, and the local communications outlet ( broadcasted the service on Facebook and their streaming channel available on Roku devices. It was well-received, and we continue to get responses from the community. It has also brought people closer together from the churches involved.”

Why do they believe it’s important for churches to practice unity, and not just proclaim it?

“This journey has continued to grow and demonstrate the unity of the church in Union County,” Tim concludes. “People are watching and taking notice. It is affecting not just the resident community, but also Eastern Oregon University students, who have been increasingly involved in our churches. I don’t fully understand why it has had such a large footprint, but it has. God is doing great things, right in front of us and among us!”

Pastor Tim is grateful for his brothers in Christ, the pastors of each of the other churches. He also notes that the “Gospel in the Square” event is not the only time the churches get together for worship and collaboration: events corresponding with Christmas and Good Friday, for instance, offer similar opportunities.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at

Feature (top) image: Video still of the congregational worship at the unity service.

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