The efficacy of unity in church growth and development

Psalm 133, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Amos 3:3
What is Unity?
According to popular definition: Unity is the state of being united or joined as a whole. Another definition put it as being in harmony or one in spirit.
Lack of unity is one of the greatest ways to destroy an organization both inside and outside of the church. If we are fighting against each other, we become neutralized and of little power to accomplish anything of great significance. No church, organization, or team can move forward without unity in vision, culture, and behaviours
As important as unity is, it does not take too much to destroy unity in our organization. Something as simple as a difference of opinions on how things should be done, and the door is opened wide for division.
Unity sometimes could be for the wrong reasons which I call false unity (would rather call it uniformity) such as:
  1. Building the Tower of Babel Gen.11: The people came together after the flood and decided to work against the purpose of God for humanity to “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). And after the flood, God blessed Noah by reiterating the very same words: “Be fertile and increase, and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1).
  2. About 40 Jews came together and made a vow not to eat nor drink until they kill Paul: Acts. 23:12-13
Unity According to the Bible
There are several scripture passages that implores unity among believers. Ephesians 4:5 encourages the church to not only continually strive for unity, but be eager to do it. We should zealously pursue this unity, seeking to bring peace within the body of Christ and love each other well. Romans 12:4-5 also encourages unity, reminding us that we are all part of the same team, and we each have a role to play, unified by serving one master. 1 Corinthians 1:10 encourages unity. Even in the Old Testament, David says it is “pleasant…when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Amos 3:3 “Do two walks together unless they have agreed to do so?”
Let us look at Psalm 133:
Importance of Unity for Church Growth
  1. Unity is a strong and vital ingredient to building strong and vibrant church: The enemy we fight finds no intimidation in a church that is fighting with one another. What threatens Satan is a force built on one foundation and brought closer together by the love of God. That’s why God calls us to love one another over and over again in scripture. He values unity and He values relationships built within the parameters of His church.
  2. Unity in Christendom is important because Christ died to secure
In Ephesians 2:13-16 Paul writes,
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
It took the cross to break down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles and to reconcile these two formerly alienated groups into one body in the church. To use the familiar phrase from Christian weddings, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Since Christ died for the unity of the church, it is an extremely important subject that we must labour to preserve and display.
  1. Christian unity is important because it is a major factor in our witness to the world: In Paul’s day, the divide between Jews and Gentiles was huge. If the church could display to the world the unity between these groups that Christ secured on the cross, it would be a powerful witness. Jesus said the same thing in His high priestly prayer the night before He was crucified (John 17:20-23):
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
Building a culture that enhances unity
  1. We must be clear about Unity. we should have at the back of our mind that having deferring opinions does not indicate that we are not united but an indication that we all have free minds to reason and air our opinions but all must be guided by the vision and focus which is the end goal.
  2. Submit to one another: When the body of Christ willingly submits to one another for the good of others, the grace and power of God seems to be unleashed in a powerful way. At the core of mutual submission is a servant heart and humility. As leaders we must be willing to submit to each other.
Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Humility must start with the leaders, not those being led.  When we willingly bow to each other, great power is released in our organization, and unity is achieved in our team!
  1. Ensure a gossip-free culture: One sure way to improve unity is to reduce gossip on your team and redirect your team to look for and see the best in each other! Often, I hear people say that they cannot help but gossip. Our human nature seems to feed off of gossip, however gossip is extremely destructive in our organizations. Gossip is simple to fight…just refuse to listen when someone offers it. As an organization, it is mission critical to agree together to be a gossip free culture.
    Openness: We must be open in our dealings with one another and should be free to openly discuss our differences so as to allow us to confront such together address them
    Love: We must learn to show absolute agape love to one another. When we love each other with the love of Christ, our hearts get knitted together
  2. Forgiveness: We must be willing ready to forgive one another no matter how much we feel offended. Lack of forgiveness is one of the greatest vices that can bring a group of people down. If we cannot forgive one another, it will be difficult to fellowship together, pray together, share ideas together, build together or strategies together
Colossians 3:13-14 – “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. “
What is required of us all today to renew our passion for togetherness and bring about Unity in our church.
  1. Take active and bold step to reach out ( Matthew 18:15-17): If there is someone in the congregation that you are at loggerhead with, you need to start from this moment to reconcile with that person; you are creating a broken link if you cannot forgive and reunite with fellow member for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Walk up to them today after the service, if you still have the pain of what has been done to you, ask for the spirit of God to alleviate that pain now where you are seated and walk to that person to talk it out and end it with an embrace and pray together before you leave today.
We would be deceiving ourselves if we keep living with grudges and we come together every Sunday to fellowship together, we are only coming to keep up appearances because our service can’t be acceptable to God. Christ said in Matthew 5:24, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
  1. Let us build a borderless community: we should avoid schism or cliques in the house of God. Apostle Paul warned the Corinthian Church about division in 1 Corinthians 3:4-5 – “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and [a]behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”

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