Have we fallen into the trap of doing things our own way?
As congregations, we’re really good at seeing what another church is doing and think ,” Whoa….look at them grow! Let’s do what their doing!” And, what seems to be working for another church, we try to do the same thing in ours.
So, we create programs, plan outreaches, schedule events that will draw a crowd and make people feel great. Surely, if we build it, they will come!….And, maybe they’ll stay!
I’m not knocking great events and the planning of an effective church calendar. In fact, I LOVE that part of ministry. But, could we be missing the mark when it comes to how we draw people into the Kingdom and unity God wants us to have as the Body of Christ?
Again, I’m zoning in on thoughts and ideas from Until Unity by Francis Chan (remember, I said this would be slow deep dive on the concept) and discussing them so we can learn how to better pursue unity. There’s so much good stuff that I have to share a bunch of Francis Chan quotes from the book!
Here’s what he had to say:
While we may believe that our oneness would impact the world, we are nowhere close to that, so we find other methods of attracting the lost. God’s method seems to hard, so we come up with ‘better’ ideas.Until Unity, pg 82
Cool and Shiny Strategies and Methods
Chan goes on to explain how King Saul was guilty of the same thing. God told him to do it one way. He didn’t think that would work, so he did it his own way. Saul thought he could skirt around God’s commands and take a short cut here or there.
The lesson of this story [King Saul] is that no matter how good or logical it seems, it is never appropriate to modify God’s commands in light of human reasoning. At the root of that kind of behavior is pride. God treats this presumption as idolatry.Until Unity, pg86
‘After hundreds of years of God dealing with people and most recently in the last hundred years, it seems we are still just as guilty trying to do things our own way instead of God’s way.
…perhaps without even realizing it, we’ve fallen into the very dangerous habit of neglecting God’s commands in favor of our logic.’Until Unity pg 87
So, we look around at what other churches are doing, and it seems to be going great for them. We copy what’s working. We chase after what’s cool and shiny. We plan strategies and methods.
‘He has not asked us to strategize; He has asked us to obey.’ p88Until Unity, p88
What does obedience-based unity look like?
Our desire to cater to the world, to make friends with our culture, is evil. That’s not what wins the world to Jesus. We do it by displaying to people that there is another world that is far better than this one. It is in our passion for Jesus, our trust in Him, our desire to please Him, our sacrificial love, and our unity that we display this Kingdom.” p54 study guideUntil Unity Study Guide, p54
Jesus’ prayer for All believers is the foundation
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”John 17:20-21
Before any methods, strategies, or grand designs will work on an eternal level, we must lay the foundation that we are to be one just like God is one in the Trinity.
They will know by our love.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
When we are in unity with each other, love will flow in us and through us. People will be drawn to this love more than they’ll be drawn to a great event. You can find a great event anywhere, but only in the beautiful display of Christ’s love through His Body that people will be thirsty for what we have.
I have to admit, the Church has not done a very good job historically of displaying such love and unity that we draw people to Christ. But, the Word says if we do it His Way, it will work. And, His Way says, “Be one and this will draw all people to Me.”
Only after unity and love are exhibited clearly, then our methods, strategies, and programs will have the potential to be effective.
Our obedience to this call of unity matters.
As you consider how your congregation seeks to build the Kingdom, are you more focused on strategies and plans or on the obedient call to building unity?
If you want to focus more on building unity, join me a Prayer for Unity zoom call on May 9, 2022 at 7pm central. We will pray for our families, churches and communities as we seek to build unity in the Body of Christ.
Let’s keep talking in the WoW TN Facebook group!