I looked over into the opposing team huddle and I saw the all-star running back shove his teammate to the ground. This resulted in an eruption of hollering and fighting amongst teammates. Even though this event was 30 years ago I remember it like yesterday. I can still recall the sense of victory I had because I knew when the in fighting starts a team has lost. Their unity was gone and my team faced a group of individuals, divided and arguing.
Jesus tells the pharisees who accuse Him of being Beelzebub that a house divided cannot stand.
25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? (Matthew 12:25-26)
Our greatest hurdle when leading in the church is unity. Yet our greatest evangelistic tool to reach the world is unity!
Jesus prays for us in the Garden of Gethsemane that if his people will be one then the whole world will come to know HIM!
Look at John 17:20-21
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [a]will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
So many things Jesus could have prayed for that fateful night. He prayed for unity. He prayed for you and I to love each other in such a way that we reflected the heart of God. He asked our Heavenly Father to help us stay together and when we do the results would be radical and global.
I would suggest to you that we consider what unifies a team and how WE the Church can not only be unified in our local context but model a holy unity to a lost and dying world. Outreach programs are good, ministries that serve the hurting are wonderful, but nothing will ever supersede the prayer request of King Jesus.
“Father may they be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me”.
Here are some points to help all of us evaluate and keep a more unifying effort to reach the world for Jesus Christ:
- A Unified Mission: With all of our different mission statements and slogans we must strive to accomplish the actual mission given by the King. Jesus is not obligated to bless your and my form of the church. Jesus gave us the ultimate mission statement when He commissioned us to “go make disciples of all nations”. Regardless of what we do to minister in our communities we must funnel everything toward the great commission given to HIS church.
- A Unified Method: Like our mission we too must be more unified in our method of making disciples. Jesus is the greatest disciple maker of all time. Paul says that we are to imitate Christ in 1 Thessalonians. We do not have the right to substitute in any methodology we want. Jesus says “My church will storm the gates of hades”. To be his church and storm those gates we must unify around his mission and his methods. Jesus model a methodology of disciple making that kept relationship at the core. The gospels give us the picture of HOW to make disciples.
- A Unified Culture: The culture we set and establishes what we value and how we live out those values. Within our church culture we must get back to what Jesus and the first century church valued. A culture of loving God and each other. Where relationship is put first. Where we create a group of people that love those around them and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is a lifestyle.
We ended up beating that team by more than 20 points that night. I have no idea what they were fighting over and why they melted down as a team. When the world around us looks at the church I think they often see a losing team. In fighting, lack of mission, irrelevant methodology and sometimes a very unhealthy culture all repel those that are seeking for some kind of answers to the brokenness of this world.
Let’s be an answer to prayer. King Jesus’ prayer. I challenge you to be that answer to prayer. Do your part to ensure the church is focused on building a healthy culture and unified around the mission and methods of Christ.
By Brandon Guindon, Senior Pastor
Real Life Ministries Texas