2/1/2016 10:35:20 AM
How Unified Is Your Church?
In Acts 4:32, Luke the physician notes, “… the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul.”
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:25 explains how God created His church “… that there may be no division in the body.”
And in Ephesians 4:12-13 he declares how the goal of pastors and teachers is “building up the body of Christ until we all reach unity in the faith.”
I could go on, but I hope you get the point. Unity is important. No, unity is essential for the body of Christ to serve Him in a pleasing way. But what does that look like?
I ask the question because much of my job revolves around the disunity among believers. Even the most healthy of congregations will experience periods when unity is stressed, if not outright threatened. So what does it mean for the church to be unified?
First, let me suggest what unity is not. Unity is not merely the absence of conflict. Conflict often indicates problems requiring attention. It need not breed disunity unless ignored or improperly addressed.
Nor is unity the same as uniformity. Actually, I’m concerned for the church where everyone looks, acts, and dresses alike. That’s often a sign of a church closed to outsiders and evangelistically limited.
And I should add, not all unity is good. It’s possible to be unified in disobedience to the Lord. A group running in unison the wrong way does more harm than good.
So what should a church look for in assessing unity? The unified church promotes genuine love and service others and their staff. Members yield to each other, especially their preference. They embrace a common faith, rooted in the scriptures. Most of all, they share a spiritual transformation by which members progressively mature in their faith, Christian conduct, and service.
It’s a worthy goal to which we all should strive. I’m ready. Are you?