Qualities of Unity

I Have made it a point to ask pastors in my area if they think churches work together very well. Though sometimes there are some bright spots, generally there aren’t. As a follow up, I ask for the assumed reasons.
The biggest is competitive fear. Every pastor - even before Covid - has a budget to meet, often measures success in terms of membership numbers, and even has a concern over losing key leaders. The natural response is to keep churches isolated - this seems to promise at least maintaining the status quo.
Part of me would like to at least hear that theological concerns separate churches, though surely true, this doesn’t get mentioned as much as expected.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus prayed (in John 17) for unity among his followers. I think he is still waiting for us to understand his concern. Do we really think our excuses are adequate?
I see two categories that most excuses fall into - 1) failing to see God’s heart for the unity of his body, and 2) more fear than faith. As to the former, unity is the outworking of love within the Body. If we love each other, we will not let the most common theological differences separate us - or our ethnicity, or our style of worship, or the shape of our buildings, or our leadership structures….
And as to the latter, I wish we would trust God for our local faith community while we expend money and effort to help congregations that are struggling. Maybe rather than trying to hold on to everyone who walks through our doors, we could send them to churches in which they might fit in better. I think of the Christmas movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” in which one department store embodied the Christmas spirit of giving (rather than profit making) by sending families to stores that had the particular toys children really wanted.
In Jesus prayer above, he said that the world would know that he was sent of God by seeing the unity of his followers. Likely, this is because unity among diverse people is so unnatural as to be miraculous.
blog comments powered by Disqus