One of the biggest challenges facing the church is unity.
And while we waste time debating, denouncing and trying to convince each other about the oneness of God that can be found in three distinct ways, the reality is there are much greater problems facing the church.
Our own unity must be high on the list of priorities of every church.
But unity in itself is a concept that is misunderstood by both leaders and congregations.
If we are honest with ourselves we can acknowledge that many of us are where we are because of what we consider to be a lack of unity.
The church seems to have never been one. Indeed that was Jesus’ prayer, that we be one as He and the Father are one.
But what does this oneness mean?
Surely it does not mean wasting time trying to be like someone else. If that was our goal in life we would be that person.
If the church is to be meaningful and make any relevant social impact the issue of unity needs to be addressed – and not just talked about, but acted upon.
First we need to distinguish between unity and uniformity. Many church problems come about because of the lack of uniformity. There is nothing wrong with this but; after all we preach about being different parts of the same body with different roles obviously, but with the same objective, glorifying God.
But the reality is that when people don’t do what we want, the way we want, we get annoyed. We get annoyed because of the lack of uniformity – doing the same thing, the same way at the same time or all the time. That poses a problem for unity.
There are many issues on which the church need to voice an opinion and three will be varied opinions. That does not mean the church is not unified, it means it is not uniform in its speaking. However, it is or may be concluding the same thing, but the path to the conclusion is very different because we are very different.
The lack of uniformity should not be a challenge for the church, but it is because respect is.
We continually fail to accept each other for who we are and the people we accept are those whose characteristics are as close to ours as possible.
There is a level of maturity we need to exercise and accept each other as created by God, each with a purpose.