One of the marks of the church is our unity in Jesus Christ. Although there are many things that could divide us, it is the power of Christ that has the ability to overcome all of those barriers to unite us. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth appeals in the name of Christ to a church divided. He says, “10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, t in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” A little later he reminds them of why we should be unified when he says, “12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” He reminds them that it is a part of our identity in Christ.
I bring these verses today, not because I feel we are a church divided, but because I don’t want us to become a church divided. Unfortunately it is too easy to become divided in this world. Often our divisions consist of misunderstandings and assumptions that cause great damage to the body of Christ and negatively impact our ability to carry out our mission. That should not be true of our church or any church. While we will not always agree, but we should remain united as we focus on Jesus Christ.
Here are a few practical ways for us to remain united in Christ:
- Make worship a priority in your schedules.
- We can sometimes lose touch with one another when we haven’t spent time together in worship…time to focus on Christ.
- Reach out to someone from this body that you haven’t seen in a while.
- Look around and see who is missing and send them a note, give them a call or go pay them a visit and tell them they are missed. We all play an important part in this body and we need encouragement along the way.
- Attend a different Sunday morning worship gathering.
- While we may have a “favorite” worship style, it is good to step out of our normal place and connect with others. You never know how you can be a blessing to others by reaching out and introducing yourself and getting to know them. Don’t assume they are connected.
- Connect in a “One Another Small Group”
- In a larger church, like ECOB, small groups are the way to build intentional, healthy relationships with a few others. These relationships bring greater growth and accountability and make our larger gatherings more meaningful. Stop by the One Another Group kiosk to find a group.
Each of these practical steps and many more can create lines of communication and connection to help us be united in Christ. These connections decrease the potential for disengagement and disillusion in the church. When we are engaged in the body there is greater unity because we are experiencing what it means to be the body of Christ. Everyone wants to be a part of something greater than themselves. There is nothing greater than the life of Christ’s body furthering the Kingdom of God.
I look forward to hearing your stories of how you took a step of faith and were agents of unity in the life of ECOB.
Praying with you and for you,