Real Church Unity
A close friend of mine who is a pastor recently recounted to me how sometimes new people would come to his church quite focussed on the concept of Unity of the church body. They would fervently pray for unity of the body and it seemed a favourite catch-cry of all they did. Usually though, when these people were quizzed a little on what they thought church unity should look like, it was a lot less like unity and whole lot more like uniformity. In there minds, unity amongst the churches meant that everybody looked like them: everybody agreed with them on doctrine and everybody wanted to attend any events they planned.
I have to admit, it’s an easy trap to fall into. We naturally view our expressions of life as being correct. If we didn’t, then we’d seek to be changing them. So if we are correct, in human terms that logically means people who are ‘doing it different’ are clearly wrong… or maybe just not quite as good or enlightened as us. But that’s not how a body works. If we remember 1st Corinthians 12, “14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.…”
I’d like to give you two examples of churches that have understood and operated in the sort of “one heart one mind” unity spoken of in Acts 4. The first is the church of Caboolture. Here many parts of the body – different denominations, different types of people – had a unified heart for their community. Together, they saw a pressing need; the physical environment of the Morayfield High School was a depressing, almost derelict place to be… Together, the churches got with the school and planned a makeover. On a single weekend, church services were adjourned. Instead of singing and listening to the preaching of the Word as an act of worship, serving and loving on a community of teenagers became the act of worship. A blitz of painting, carpentry, landscaping and more – each serving according to their giftings – meant that students arrived to a ‘new’ beautiful school for Monday morning classes. The church of Caboolture had acted in one heart and one mind with a single motivation and God was glorified through their act of worship.
Another example is that of the church of Toowoomba. Combined together and motivated by love for the people of Toowoomba and their great need, the church there has initiated great events like the great Easterfest events. Probably more notable though, is the work of a group known as City Women. Check out what they do and what they are achieving. As a united group from most parts of the body of the church of Toowoomba, women are empowered through the synergy of resources and talents available to change lives. The work that they are doing to usher in the Kingdom is astounding and needs to be noted by other churches around the nation.
You have a creative gift inside you that the church of your city needs. And there are many, maybe even thousands of people who have a different creative gift inside them that the church of your city needs. So many different expressions of faith and worship through service; That’s a lot of diversity! Instead of looking on other parts of the body in your city and shaking your head and rolling your eyes, appreciate their differences. Enjoy the way they complement your giftings and leanings. Work together with one heart and one mind in unity and love to advance the Kingdom.
Ever changing; Thy Kingdom come
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