David Winn has spent the past 21 years in a role he didn’t even want. Not at first. He’s been the regional pastor of Southern California and Southern Nevada for the Church of God movement for the past 21 years. He’d spent 20 years pastoring in the local church, loved his job, and had no plans to leave. But God clearly had other plans for Pastor David’s life.
David recalls getting phone calls, letters, and even faxes from other pastors and leaders in the region urging him to apply for the regional pastor job. He wasn’t convinced, but he sent his resume anyway. It turns out that the selection team agreed with everyone else—and they unanimously agreed to bring David on.
One of the most confirming moments David had about this role came nine years after he’d accepted the job. On a drive to visit a congregation in the High Desert, David began praying for two pastors who were on his heart and mind. He realized that while he was praying, he had started weeping. David said, “When I realized I had tears streaming down my face I prayed, ‘Oh God, you know how much I miss being a local pastor. I thought by now, God, that some of that passion would’ve dissipated, but I miss it as much today as from day one.’”
While he didn’t hear an audible voice, he felt in his spirit God was affirming his love for the local church. It was a special confirmation that he was in this specific role to serve the local church in a unique way.
As a pastor of pastors, David gets to see all the ways God is moving in the Church from a broader perspective. He’s passionate about sharing that vision with local pastors and helping them catch sight of something greater than their local church body. The reason is simple: David has learned that without strong connections to other church bodies, local pastors struggle with feelings of isolation and frustration.
David works with many pastors and each experience is different. He’s installed a 65-year-old pastor to his first church, cared for pastors who were asking tough questions, and taught new pastors things they didn’t learn in seminary––like how to lead a funeral service. He comes alongside each pastor and provides support and friendship.
Unity is a defining belief for the Church of God movement, and it’s also a central part of David’s role by uniting local pastors to work together. The Church of God’s beliefs read, “We are a people uniquely called by God to be a catalyst for Christian unity, believing that the division of the body of Christ is hell’s greatest weapon to thwart heaven’s ends in this world. We are convinced that the splintering of the body is not the Lord’s work, but the enemy’s; we believe that hell trembles at the prospect of a people united, redeemed by the blood, and possessed by the Spirit (John 17:21).”
David explained, “It’s very difficult for a single congregation to maintain a zeal to reach the world in the spirit of Christ. A lot of what our pastors have been doing is like getting on a treadmill and putting out a ton of energy and not going anywhere. But it’s more believable that we can do it when we catch a larger vision of the church and find ourselves operating in that system. It’s a little closer I think to what the vision of God is for us. In our own view, we are limited in what we see, but when we open it up, we see the greatness of God more clearly.”
That’s why David encouraged his leadership team and local pastors to participate in a pilot program for Faithlife Equip. There’s a sense of unity among the group because they’re all learning new church technology together. But this newfound unity goes far deeper. At 950 members and growing, the Church of God Global Movement group on Faithlife is an interactive, inviting community for everyone in the movement to share news, prayer requests, reading plans, and more.
On the local level, the pilot program has brought the pastors in David’s region closer together as they’ve started to dream about what ministry could be possible because of Faithlife Equip. He says, “I’ve started challenging our pastors and board members to dream with me. We’re all learning this together, but we can dream together about the future.”
Although they’re just getting started in the pilot program, David is hopeful about the positive changes pastors will see with Equip. “I wouldn’t have gone this far if I did not believe in what Faithlife Equip can do when it comes to the Church carrying out its mission,” David says. “Faithlife Equip can help our pastors expend their energy in a more fruitful way. . . . I think it’ll be a tool for people who are seeking and desiring unity.”