Lack of unity is one of the Enemy’s great schemes for destroying the church. If he can get us fighting against each other, we become neutralized and of little use to the world.
Your church will not move forward without unity in direction (purpose), culture and spirit.
Because we are human, it doesn’t take much to break down unity:
One group likes a contemporary worship style and another group prefers traditional.
One department has a smaller budget than the others.
One segment of the congregation thinks there should be more emphasis on foreign missions than what the church board has decided.
One ministry received more platform announcement time than the others.
And on it goes …
These issues seem minor, even petty, when we read them, but when you are in the middle of them, the passion runs high and the emotions can get hot.
Pray that God would empower these words of Paul within your church.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:1-6)
In addition to continued prayer, lead these practical principles in your church.
1. Talk about the spiritual realities of disunity.
Division is nothing new for the local church. Paul openly addressed this issue many times in his New Testament letters. In fact, divisiveness is among Satan’s top tactics for distracting and derailing church leaders from what is really important. If the enemy can get us bickering, at odds with or even against each other, the church is effectively neutralized. A spiritual attack is not something to hide behind as an excuse—it’s a reality to acknowledge and fight against. Prayer is your greatest offensive weapon, followed by great expressions of faith in what God can and will do.
2. Define unity.
Unity is not uniformity or conformity. It’s not about everyone agreeing with everything. The sake of biblical unity should never be leveraged as a way for a leader to get his or her own way. Unity is a solidarity among believers focused on the mission of the church, in order to advance God’s kingdom purposes for the good of the people.
Division is focused on self and unity is focused on God. We divide, separate and go to battle when we lift up our own agendas over the greater good. It’s easy to cloak selfishness under the guise of righteous passion, but God designed the church to operate as a community moving in the same direction—not a collection of lone rangers who are each doing what is right in his or her own eyes.
3. Present clear communication of your vision.
We all talk a lot about a clear vision, and the reason is twofold. First, a significant percentage of churches still do not have a crystal clear vision for the future. Second, just because you have a vision doesn’t mean your people know it and have embraced it.
Here is a simple vision test:
1. Does your vision inspire the congregation to invite new people to the church?
2. Do the new people return?
People don’t attend churches because of perfect programs—they attend because of compelling vision. They attend because they feel cared for and like they are part of something that matters.
4. Create a M.V.S. environment.
M.V.S. stands for mutual voluntary submission. 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 this is a servant heart and humility.