As the final details settled into place, our excitement grew. We’d be moving to a new town (albeit only 20 minutes away), a new home, a new neighborhood…and a new church. Over the last few months before the move, Marcus and I talked about visiting several different churches in our new town so we could get a feel for where we were to attend. One of our top priorities was a place where our kids felt safe and cared for. We had visions of experiencing several different churches and then choosing from that list of abundance where we would settle. Well, it didn’t happen that way at all. Has that ever happened to you? You make all of these awesome plans, but then they get thwarted by someone’s bigger plan? Yeah. That’s pretty much what happened. We were distracted by our own ideas and plans. We forgot something important – something vital to the church – we were meant to build unity. I figured I wasn’t the only one who forgot this wonderful plan of God’s, so I compiled this special list: 6 Essential Ways You Can Build Unity Within The Church.
We visited a total of 2 churches. That’s it. 2.
Oh, there were plenty of options. So many churches to choose from. However, on our way home one Sunday morning, I started to cry. My heart was missing something. A home. My heart was missing a home. A place to gather with other believers and do life together. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with testing out a variety of churches to get a feel for where God wants you to be. I think that’s a very healthy thing to do. But, when God calls you to be faithful to one family, then it is best to heed that call. And that’s what He was doing that Sunday morning. Thankfully, when I expressed my feelings to Marcus, he was in complete agreement. We were unified in this decision.
Here are the 6 Essential Ways You Can Build Unity Within The Church that we have learned.
1. We Are Fellow Citizens
God loves to build us up. He loves to see us grow into the people He created us to be. He does this best by building us together. When we are in a household of faith, we can hold each other accountable. It’s a whole lot more difficult to fall into sin when we have confessed it to a good friend and they are praying for us.
It’s also more difficult to wallow in discouragement when we’ve got each other’s backs. Being in a household of faith is essential for the believer in Christ. The church needs us and we need the church. We need a family of faith to walk through life together.
We build unity when we allow God to build us up together.
2. We Are Family
Scripture is clear that we are children of God. Ladies, we are daughters of the most high King. We are not merely church members or church attendees if you haven’t taken that step of commitment yet. At least our relationship with the church isn’t supposed to end there. It is so much more than that.
We are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. We are in a family. That means we are also brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a bond through the blood of Christ. This is the strongest bond possible! We are joint heirs together! We are going to spend eternity with each other. Shouldn’t that make you long to be together? To endeavor to build unity with one another?
Yes, we are going to have some ‘sibling rivalry’. But as long as we remember this truth and come back into unity and love for one another, we can trust that God will use our disagreements to bring glory to Himself. Prayer works wonders in this kind of a situation!
We build unity when we realize that we are brothers and sisters.
3. We Belong Together
If you think that church is simply an organization to which you join, then you need to change your thinking. You need to paint a new picture of what the church is. Church is a family to which you belong.
Here’s the thing…I don’t want people knowing my church is church because of the building. I want people who walk in those doors to know it’s a church because of the people within it. Regardless of what they look like, what they are wearing, what gender they identify with, what sin they are struggling with – none of that matters when they walk through those doors, I want people to feel welcome and loved. At least it shouldn’t since we are a reflection of Jesus Christ and He longs for every single one of us to come to Him as we are. And believe me, we are all filthy dirty.
The First Time
I remember walking into that church for the first time. The atmosphere was different – it felt like I was home. My true home. I’m not talking about the home I grew up in. It was nothing like that, thank goodness. I’m talking about what home should feel like. What home feels like to my kids. It did not feel like an exclusive club for the spiritually elite. People were not stand-offish. In fact, one guy there remembered us from a local furniture store and went out of his way to welcome us.
I wanted so much to be a part of such a church family. I just expected to contribute to the warm atmosphere of this church. Although I am an introvert, I enjoy welcoming new people in our church. Yes, it has stretched me. But it is part of my responsibility as a member of this family and because I am in a leadership type position there.
We build unity when we contribute to the family atmosphere.
4. We Set The Culture
As a mom, I know that I have the responsibility of setting the tone of my home. I can make my home a miserable place for my family with anger and contention. Or I can make it a place of nurturing, love, laughter, and encouragement where my children feel valued. This is the same for our church family, ladies (and gentlemen). We have to decide what kind of culture we want in our church family. Our words will shape our culture or environment.
What tone do want to set for your church family? I know, it’s easier said than done. Believe me, I really do know. This responsibility isn’t solely up to your pastors, elders, deacons, leaders, etc. It’s your job to determine what kind of culture or environment you want in your church. You play a huge role in your church culture – whether you want to or not. You do.
We build unity when we set the culture of our family.
5. We Is Greater Than Me
Recently, I received an email from someone who demonstrated a misunderstanding of the purpose of church. She is failing to realize that she is supposed to be a part of a team. She doesn’t seem to want unity. Her email demanded her own way, for her own benefit. To ensure her comfort at the expense of others. She is completely missing out on the opportunity to bless others and build up the church.
Our church has been going through major renovations over the last few years. We are just finishing up our new (and bigger) sanctuary. There is now a full basement with several classrooms and one huge gym-like room. The kitchen went through an overhaul and it’s amazing. The rooms have multiplied in expectation of more people joining our family. One thing I never want to forget though is that we are still one building, one house, one family. There might be several rooms, but we are still one family.
Our purpose is greater than little, old me. Unity is greater. And when we begin thinking of our own little groups and cliquey friends, division is just around the corner. Don’t be like the tween or teen that demands that her family stays out of her room because it’s ‘hers’. Grow enough in your own faith to realize that the family of God is bigger than just you. Don’t demand your own way. That is foolishness. Don’t send an email that is all about you and your way. Be a part of the family by meeting the needs of others before your own.
We build unity when we understand that ‘we’ is bigger than ‘me’.
6. We Live In A House
My kids have certain responsibilities they must own in our family. They have their own list of chores that they are responsible for. Each of them goes through their checklist and ensures that each chore is complete. This is their responsibility to get done on Saturday mornings. If they don’t they miss out on the family activity in the afternoon. It’s not only chores that they are responsible for. They must pray for each other, take care of one another. When one is discouraged or sad, the others have the responsibility to encourage and love him or her. At the beginning, this did take some training on my part, but because they have a healthy understanding of what family is, this has become so natural for them to do. Interesting thought, hey?
A healthy understanding of family promotes a natural tendency to own our responsibilities.
Are You A Hopper?
Many people still attend church with the mentality that it is an event to go to. I think we see this best when church-hopping begins. When there is not a commitment to the family, it’s easier to pick up and leave when we are offended in the slightest. With a ‘church serves me’ mentality, we undermine God’s building plan. His intention was never for us to go from church to church in search of the ‘perfect family’. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but this does not exist. There is no such thing as the perfect church. So, stop expecting to find it. You’ll only grow more disappointed and jaded.
Begin thinking of your church family as a place to live in and serve. Start breaking down the consumerism mindset. Thinking about church as a place that serves you and makes you comfortable with convenience and options only hinders your maturity and stops your roots from growing deep. Stop thinking about yourself – what you want (your worship music style, a perfect message every single Sunday, to always be the one who receives encouragement – please note – see this post for some truth about encouragement). We must take ownership of our house, of our responsibility within our family.
We build unity when we understand that church is a place to live and serve.
What would you add to this list? Is there something else you do to promote unity in your church? What area do you struggle with today? How will you apply these 6 Essential Ways You Can Build Unity Within The Church in your life?
For more articles in this series, click the image below.
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