It all started innocently enough: two fathers watching their sons play basketball.
Before long, Rev. Jim Halstead, pastor of Community Christian Reformed Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., began chatting with Reginald Blackmon, bishop of Latter Rain Ministries, a nearby nondenominational church.
Soon they discovered they were both pastors who share a love of John Piper and a similar way of thinking when it comes to Reformed theology. Both are firm believers in making disciplines and in turn, having disciples make disciples.
The pastors’ conversations shifted quickly from basketball to a shared mission. Halstead and Blackmon had each been praying for the salvation of their sons’ high school basketball coach. Both wondered how they could reach their sons’ teammates and teachers with the gospel.
More important, both have a passion for reaching their community. “We were mirror images of one another,” Halstead said.
In August, when Community CRC installed Halstead as its full-time pastor after he had served in a different role for more than a year, Blackmon and 20 of his congregants attended.
In September, when Blackmon’s church held its inaugural service, Halstead was there along with 15 members of his church.
The two pastors now pray with one another each Monday and have started planning how to share the gospel with people living in two apartment complexes within a mile of Halstead’s church. Halstead and Blackmon plan to prayer walk the apartments, working together toward a shared goal.
Their friendship has been an answer to prayer for Halstead. “I had been asking God who I should partner with,” said Halstead, who previously worked with the court system in Fort Wayne as part of a Prison Fellowship ministry. “That’s when I met Reginald and found someone who has the same philosophy of ministry I do.
“We’re two peas in a pod.”