By Rick Thiessen
MAPA is the Marysville Area Pastors Association. We are what has typically been called the “Ministerial Association.”
We’ve tried to rebrand this year with something simpler, “Marysville Pastors”. But MAPA has really stuck, so that’s the way most in our community know us.
MAPA’s mission is to transform Marysville through God honoring pastoral and ministry partnership. Marysville pastors cultivate our Christian unity in two ways: We meet every month to promote loving relationships and for encouragement and prayer. Also, we partner in several tangible ways to proclaim the message that unites us through word and deed.
There’s an impression that different streams of Christian traditions think of themselves as ardent enemies at worst, or, at best, as competitors for a shrinking number of Christian pew-sitters in a zero sum game of shuffling believers between denominational stripes.
This fallacy stands refuted simply by the diverse leaders and traditions represented in MAPA. True, infighting between Christian traditions happens, but we think that makes a mockery of Jesus’ prayer for unity and makes us ineffective in making Christ known to the world
We don’t downplay differences between various communions in what we teach, but we believe what unites us is more important and powerful than any secondary issues we disagree on.
MAPA is not an interfaith group, but we are an inter-church group. As such we welcome leaders from any Christian stripe. Our steering committee is made up of a broad mix of Evangelicals who safeguard what we unify around: Such as a high view Jesus and Christian scripture, the need for heart conversion through the saving work of Christ and the necessity of actively sharing our faith in deed and word.
As our name suggests, MAPA is for pastors but we interpret “pastor” broadly, so we are open to anyone working as an overseer or leader in Christian ministry in our city. We have local Christian counselors who attend and several leaders of Christian para-church organizations.
Also, MAPA supports our city in tangible ways, so you’ll often find representatives from the school district or city hall at our meetings to give updates and suggestions on how the church can love the city.
If your pastor has not yet connected with MAPA, encourage them to do so. The benefit to them will be tangible, since pastors are a unique breed with unique struggles and mutual support and learning matters greatly.
The benefit to your church is that you get to be part of our unified efforts to bless the city in Jesus’ name. We have mobilized many volunteers from multiple churches to staff a cold-weather shelter for the homeless in the winter, for example. We also encourage each church to adopt a local school, develop relationships, find out what they need and meet those needs.
Over the years believers in MAPA churches who catch the unity vision have put on joint service projects, an entire men’s ministry, a farmer’s market, leadership training and worship events. The benefit to the church and community overall, if every local Christian body expressed unity in tangible ways, cannot be overstated. Jesus himself said that our oneness would fall on a watching world as the primary evidence that He was who He said He was, and that Christianity is true. At MAPA, we believe that down to our marrow. It’s no revelation that the church’s reputation has taken a hit in broader culture. We aim, by the grace of God, to redeem that reputation.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: Marysvillechurches