Everyone is an other to someone.
And because we are all different and “an other” to someone else, it is easy for division to set in. Division is a natural condition. The church thrives on Unity. Unity is an intentional decision.
As I reflect on the the last five years, I see the intentional pursuit of unity as one of the most impactful components that has led to the incredible growth of Sandals church. I believe our staffs ability to unify under the direction of our lead pastor has resulted in a richer experience of Christian community and ultimately, tremendous blessing from God.
The reality is, division is a huge problem for the church and the enemy uses division to stop or slow down the church from realizing its mission.
In fact Paul writes to the New Testament churches about the need for unity.
1 Corinthians 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, 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.”
Ephesians 4:1-6: “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”
This has led me to believe that leaders in the church must be Champions for Unity.
Here’s how I see the impact of unity:
Corporately – Unity is like gas in the tank of the church while division is like sand in the tank of the church
Individually – Unifiers go further, faster and have a greater impact for the Kingdom
Here’s 2 ways you can be a unifier in the church despite being an other to someone:
Work hard towards empathy – The definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another. Empathizing with someone is difficult when you disagree. When someone who looks different from you or has a different background, you may have to work harder to get to a place of empathy. Simply recognizing that you don’t understand the experiences of an other can bring you to a place of empathy. Empathy often leads to unity.
Don’t give into the temptation to divide over differences – The enemy wants to divide and will whisper in your ear with the hope that you will become a tool to divide. When satan tried to tempt Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus rebuked satan with scripture. When the enemy tries to tempt you to be a divider let him know the truth that is found in God’s Word. Be awake to the work and voice of the enemy and don’t allow him to use you to divide the church.