Posts Tagged ‘unity’

So I’m at my church’s annual conference this week and we are in the beginning stages of seeking a “compelling vision” to unify the church and help us to get back on mission (my words). One of the table facilitators likened the need for this vision to a cart with horses. If we set out a vision even if we are pulling slightly to the left or right, we have a better chance of getting to where God is leading us. Without a compelling vision, something else might happen. The discussion got me creating.



It’s been a busy week as you can probably tell from the silence on this end. Sorry about that. I will catch us up. On Monday I will be leaving for a ten day ministry trip. I’ll be ministering at two great churches and at my denomination’s annual conference with art and speaking. That excites me. I am also my church’s delegate to the conference and I face that duty with a little more trepidation. While I am so looking forward to seeing many friends I don’t see the rest of the year, there are some potentially divisive issues on the agenda and that bothers me. I have walked this earth long enough to know that when you get more than two people together there is likely to be disagreement. I’ve also been a Christian long enough to know that division is bad for the body of Christ and that God has given us a remedy. He gave us His Word and if we gather around that word in humility and repentance, He will speak truth. This is what I pray will happen. I was trying to think of something that expresses my thoughts and I was reminded of this song. I’m getting ready!

God is good, and my prayer is that we will gather in His love and goodness and that He will heal divisions with His righteousness.

I did this video some time ago but I think it bears repeating. There are a lot of times in the church where we butt heads. Now I’m not talking about heresy and some of the negative, idolatry things that are out there, I’m talking about the stuff that needlessly divides us. We can find a lot of things that we could part ways over, but there is something, someOne who is bigger than all of that and if we are truly seeking Him He can unite us.

We need to unite in Christ if we want to he the body He created us to be.

A friend of mine and I were having a discussion the other day. He is a Christian but does not have a “home church.” He was telling me of listening to a message online from a church he has attended a few times. The message was on the tithe which he felt was in error as it did not take New Testament teaching into account. I am not sure where I stand on that. I get where he’s coming from on one hand, (God owns and deserves everything) but on the other hand I know how many churches struggle financially because the members of the body do not even come close to the tithe. I found myself getting too emotional in the conversation because as a pastor, I need all the help I can get. Believers foregoing corporate worship is a sore point with me.

Yet part of me understands it. A wise man one told me that ministry is easy, except for the people. It’s true we come together with lots of baggage, rough edges and wounds and we often manage to hurt each other. We have difficulty coming under authority, humbling ourselves and forgiving. All those traits are relational time bombs waiting to go off. Yet I maintain the answer is not to give up gathering for corporate worship.

I guess the thing that hits me the hardest is the fact that while I acknowledge that in some ways the church is broken, I also feel a call to do my part in fixing it. For that, I don’t need people who will wander in as consultants, tell me what’s wrong with me and then bounce out of my life again. I’ve been pastoring the church of the revolving door for too long.

Don’t tell me what’s wrong with my church, or even how to fix my church and then walk away. That’s not what I need. I’m not infallible and I do make mistakes, but I don’t need a consultant and I don’t need a critic. I need some folks who will climb into the trenches with me, come to the word with me and hash it out with me, battle by my side and help me. I need people who care about the vision God has given and the Kingdom of God enough to get their hands dirty. Your idea may be perfectly valid, you may even be right, but don’t expect me to change anything I do in the name of God before you show me with your faithfulness that I can trust you. Don’t give me an idea or something to do unless you are willing to put your own effort behind it, and for pete sake, don’t tell me I have to do something because God told you I do. The people I trust most are the ones who will join me in the trenches.

Funny my friend would tell me the church is not the building, it’s the people and he would be right about that but I don’t believe that the church will ever be fixed from the outside. I believe the church is a body that needs all the parts to function. We can’t amputate ourselves and really make a difference.

Plug back in and join us in the trenches.

I posted this video before a long time ago but I think it bears repeating. Jesus said they will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another. This painting video shows the value of unity in Christ. Not the false unity of forced tolerance, but the true unity that happens when we submit our wills to Jesus and let the love the conquers all, conquer our differences.

I’m a Christian and I’m a pastor and I serve this amazing God who says in His Word that He is love. The problem is when I look at His followers, the Church, I see a lot of disunity. Jesus prayed that we would be united. How can we get past our divisions and unite so people see His love instead of our prideful division? How can we live so people see Jesus?


Posted: November 22, 2011 in Uncategorized
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My denomination is in a strange place right now. There is some division going on among us and it is really heart breaking. At the core of it all is an issue of consensus. We are constantly taking votes to see who is right, but there is a problem with that, the minority side refuses to back down from their position and so we have disunity and distraction. In a way I don’t blame them, they’re convinced they’re right. As a result of this conflict, we have been dragged away from what the church should really be doing for over 30 years because we can’t come to consensus.

Who said we had to?

Here’s the thing. In America we love democracy, and in government that is a good thing, but the church can never be a democracy. In case you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question: Has the majority ever really followed Jesus?

The church is not a democracy. The church is called to follow Jesus. He speaks we obey. He says, “Jump,” we say, “how high?” He commands and we say, “Yes, Lord?” It’s the only proper response, after all if we say not to the Lord is He really Lord (in our lives)? We don’t need consensus, we need obedience.

I know what you might be thinking, “Didn’t Jesus pray we’d be united? Isn’t consensus really about finding unity?” Looking at the results before me, I would have to say it isn’t working. A closer look at John 17:21-23 reveals the key to unity, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Does Jesus pray for complete unity in the Church? Yes, but there are terms to the unity. We may be one as He and the Father are one. Jesus and the Father are one because they Jesus was fully obedient to God (anything less and He could not be our Savior). If we are to be One like that, we need to be one IN CHRIST, in other words we need to be united in obedience to Jesus and His teachings. It’s not enough to be united. We need to be united in Christ. We need to be united in following the Word. Consensus is not enough. We need to follow Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul gives a chilling indictment of the Church he founded there. He says “17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.” I wonder if our meetings do the same as we fight over the issues of the day instead of saying, thus sayeth the Lord. If you move onto verse 18 you see he is displeased with their division. “In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.” Then he seems to show the one good grounds for division. “19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” In other words, sometimes there will be divisions because sometimes someone will be wrong and you can’t just unite with them for the sake of unity.

We need to be united in Christ. Consensus is not enough.

The first video for my new teaching resource, this video teaches the importance of each part of the body of Christ. You were created to do something very special, very specific AND you were created to do it in community.

There is a full study guide available with this video, which will be available for download as a FREE sample by clicking here. Try this resource with your youth or artists group and let me know how it works.