It's a word that gets tossed around a lot in churches, but do most churches really have it.
In the daily reading for yesterday my eyes locked onto this verse:
Romans 15:5-6 (New International Version)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It made me think.
Does the church I pastor have unity in vision? Do we have unity of mission? Do we have a unity of calling? Do all our committees and programs work together for a common unity, or do we all have our own agenda?
What about your church? If you took a poll of all the members would they all agree on the reason that your particular church is doing what it does?
This may seem like a no-brainer for most of us, but I'm afraid that most churches are not in unity, rather most of our churches are more of an organized chaos. Pastors, deacons, teachers, worship leaders, committee members, and all other members too often have their own agenda, their own goal, their own vision, instead of one single solitary united vision.
Look at the words that Paul links with unity. He says "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity..." Ever wonder why Paul makes mention of endurance and encouragement when he is going to be talking about unity? It's because he knows that in order for unity to happen, God is going to have to give us encouragement and endurance. We will need both for unity to take place. When our ideas, our goals, our plans, our vision get moved aside or rearranged for the goal of a unified vision, we will need encouragement to keep going, we will need encouragement so that we know that just because things aren't going the way of our vision, our goal, or our plans, doesn't mean that the vision, goal or plan was a bad one, just that it was not the right one for this time. We will need endurance because it will take a lot of work to come together as one unit....united for a common purpose. It will take endurance to "hammer" out a common goal, a common purpose, a unifying vision.
But if a church is to accomplish more than spinning it's wheels, and just staying busy for the sake of something to do, then unity is absolutely essential.
As Paul writes, when there is unity it glorifies God.
Ok, so there's that.