Your Role in Unifying the Church

At Life.Church we live by The Code, which includes two major forces that drive what we do here at Open Network:

  • We will lead the way with irrational generosity.
  • We are all about the “capital C” Church.

We especially believe in the “capital C” church because we know we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart. But at times you might feel the Church as a whole—the bride of Christ—is hopelessly disjointed, painfully divided, and irrecoverably fractured. In many cases, that may be true.

So what can we do? What can you do?

First, take heart that you’re not alone. The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer (May 3) is unity, so you can find solidarity with Americans all over the country who feel that unity among believers is of paramount importance.

We should all be comforted that so many are praying for our unity, and evenand agreeing with what Jesus prayed for us:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the disciples’] message, that all of them may be one… I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” [John 17:20b-23]

If we’re to be united, the key is for everyone to start at their community level because the local church is the hope of the world.

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As pastors and leaders, we can model unity and inspire others starting with a few simple steps:

  • Seek out new ways to serve your community. There are probably more local people, spaces, and places who need the light of Jesus and practical help than your church alone can tackle. Seek out new opportunities and invite other churches to serve with you.
  • Call up another pastor in your area and invite him or her to coffee or lunch. Crossing boundaries and opening up with those in similar positions can spark conversation and illuminate new ideas. Rather than seeing other churches as competition, see them as fellow kingdom-builders who can multiply your efforts and vice versa. Listening—really listening—can provide us with enlightening perspectives that we couldn’t otherwise see or understand.
  • As a staff, pray for other churches in your town. Gathering together extends the sense of unity throughout your church. Your whole church should be part of unification efforts, and that starts with getting your staff on board. Another idea is to pray for other churches as you pass by on your daily commute.
  • When discussing other churches, use language that promotes unity. We’re not rivals against each other. Instead, we can start building bridges that honor Christ and his Church. Rather than tearing down, seek to promote partnerships that advance the cause of Christ instead of personal agendas.
  • Cheer for one another. We all benefit from encouragement, and churches are no different. When we champion each other, we inspire and encourage even more of Christ to be known in our communities. And that’s never a bad thing.

So can the Church really be one? Of course it can! Jesus prayed for it, and we can put it into practice. If you’re currently promoting church unity or trying new ideas, we’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page. Please post to let us know how you promote unity in your community and inspire other church leaders!

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