I have seen churches split, but I have never seen churches come together. That is until recently when my church decided we were going to merge with another church.
When I heard the news about the merger, I suddenly felt like I was about to marry a person I didn’t know. I felt like two very different people were about to come together and say, “For better or for worse.” I felt like two opinionated strangers were about to get married. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was ready to walk down the aisle and say “yes” to unity.
Why didn’t I want to merge? I didn’t want to be unified because I was selfish. I liked my church’s worship style. I liked my pastor. I liked my friends. I liked the way we did church.
I found myself asking, “Why does it have to change? This is so good. ”
But I soon found that the Lord’s heart was to bring unity to His church. He was tearing down the dividing wall and was making a way for us to see Him do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” We were going to see Jesus’ power at work in our lives so that way the church would bring glory to the Father (Eph. 3:20-21).
God showed me that I didn’t have a heart for unity, and He wanted that to change in me.
Our churches have come together and I won’t lie, each Sunday it is like I wake up with my new spouse. Sometimes I feel the love I should have and get excited about what God has done. And other times I have to turn to God and beg Him to help me not “neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25).
Regardless of how my feelings may change, Jesus wants me to be a part of Him unifying His church. The God of patience and comfort wants me to be like-minded with fellow believers. He wants His church to have one mind and one mouth so that way, we can glorify God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants me to receive people, just as Christ received me because this will glorify God (Rom. 15:5-7).
Unity in the body of Christ will bring glory to God, but God still wants more than unity for us. He wants us to be working together in Gospel partnership. Yes, there will continue to be kinks to work out (which is expected) but the Lord is doing this amazing work.
Here are the three main things I’ve learned.
- Jesus has to be our one goal because He brings unity.
- The glue that keeps our bodies together is the Gospel.
- When we each have a deep sense of God receiving us into His body, we will be able to receive others in Gospel fellowship.
Extra Reading on the Church:
Why We Love The Church By: Kevin DeYoung and Ted Cluck
What Is A Healthy Church Member? By: Thabiti M. Anyabwile