First and foremost, unity matters to us because God tells us it matters. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus' words and actions illustrate the need for the Church to remain unified in Christ. Why does Christ call us to that? Because with Unity comes love and inclusion. During His ministry, Jesus always reached out and included those who were sidelined. Even now, he gives hope to the hopeless and a voice to the voiceless, and calls His church to do the same. Churches who do not work together are not as effective as they could be, because they are working with a body that is not whole. Unity ensures that the body is whole, so the work of the Church—sharing the Gospel of Jesus' death and resurrection for the atonement of sin—can increase.
How will unity change lives?
- Isolation and loneliness can lead to very real symptoms of stress and even depression. As unity in local church leadership increases, there is an increase of confidence and sense of purpose. As unity within a local church increases, opportunities for fellowship with other believers within the Body increase, leading to opportunities to serve the Body as well. All of these tie together to show an individual that they are not alone.
- When needs arise, a unified congregation will always be better positioned to meet that need than one with division. Needs are recognized earlier and resources are gathered more easily than a congregation that does not talk to each other. And if, for whatever reason, an individual church is unable to meet that particular need, then unified churches are able to better leverage their local church networks in order to fill that need – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. It forms a bond of protection when we need it. And in the current era that we are in, a bond of protection is needed more and more as churches come under persecution and spiritual attack.
- Unity also deepens our spiritual life. Because of the support and protection discussed in points 1 and 2, those who have unity with other believers can be encouraged to dive into God's Word in times of hardship. They can fall back on a unified network of believers who will support them and encourage reliance on God, and therefore learn more about Him and trust Him. Experiencing God's faithfulness together as a group bonds believers together in unity, ready for the next trial.
- Unity allows the Holy Spirit to be heard more clearly. The Holy Spirit can certainly offer personal revelation during solitary moments, but without a sounding board of strong believers, one may mistake their own voice or ambitions for God's leading. Pursuing God's Word with other believers, can lead to greater assurance in the faith.
Why will unity change the future?
As technology continues to advance and connect the world, the church appears to be under a global microscope. It's flaws are broadcasted to a watching world, but there is hope there, too: unified Christians observed by the world. It may not get top billing on the nightly news, but churches who work together make a lasting impact on their community (one great example is our Unity Story on Fort Wayne United).
Believers in the Church who embrace the concept of unity, who genuinely wish to set aside differences and work together, will show a dramatically different version of Christianity to a non-believing world. Outsiders can tell, however subliminally, when churches do not fully welcome their own members – and by extension, feel unwelcome themselves. Unity within the church impacts those who attend the church and spreads outside its walls.
The vision that God has for the Church is bold. In Revelation, John describes a multitude so large it cannot be numbered, from "every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" praising God together. There is a beautiful diversity in that vision, and yet this multitude is unified in their message. This glimpse for the Church that God gave John shows us what we can reach for – and what God has promised, we will attain.
The Church United. The Church Unleashed.
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