Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Carol and I have been in the ministry together nearly 30 years. Through the years we have always heard one particular cry from hundreds of people in various churches, para-church organizations, and prayer groups all over the country. There is a continual cry for coming together in unity.
We have heard many reasons offered in gatherings, meetings and conferences, as to why the Body of Christ can't seem to come together. Reasons like: unforgiveness, bitterness, leadership abuse, competition, envy, strife, ambition, greed, prejudice, racism, sexism, imperialism, hypocrisy, apathy, and the list goes on and on and on.
Of course, these observations have been quite accurate. We have been in and around the church world over 50 years, so we can tell you, first-hand, that this has been a legitimate complaint and issue against the Church in America and right here in south central Pennsylvania.
However, we're not writing to add to the complaint. Nor, are we writing to offer a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. Yet, we're writing to offer another way of approaching the issue of unity. Perhaps we're offering another way of viewing what unity will look like.
In our experience, many who call for unity are usually calling for everyone to come and join with THEIR movement, cause or mission. And if everyone does not "come together" to fulfill what they believe God has called THEM to do, then the outcry is again, "No one wants to walk in unity!"
Our brother and ministry overseer introduced this explanation to us while he was training and mentoring us. He said, "This is how we often view the next move of God: When the vision is in MY heart, it's the will of God. But when that same vision is in another leader's heart, I feel they're walking in selfish ambition."
So, why would God tell scores of leaders to do the same thing? Is He actually calling every leader, in every church, every prayer group, and every para-church organization to pool all of their people and financial resources into one massive effort, under one group's banner?
Personally, we believe many leaders might be missing a critical point.
We believe the Lord is calling for us to come together in unity of PURPOSE, not necessarily, unity of PRESENCE (physically coming together all the time).
Now we must share a story to clarify our point. Another local pastor was constantly trying to get us to bring our congregations together for a unity gathering. We were very reluctant to do that because the type of people we were mentoring in that season, were not regular church-goers, and most had been burned out or even hurt by church people. For us, a unity gathering would have been disastrous for our people. However this wonderful, caring brother kept insisting that we needed to come together in unity.
A few months later, his ministry had a need for a van. We happened to have one that we no longer needed. So, we gave it to them. After we completed the transaction we told him, "This is what it means to come together in unity. We don't need a church unity service. You had a need. We met your need. That's what it means to come together and work together in unity."
As our nation continues to fall apart, many church and ministry leaders continue to call for unity, but most seem to think unity means always physically coming together for meetings and gatherings. But what is the point of such gatherings if there is no action that deals with our hearts and homes at fundamental levels?
Now, on the other hand, there are other pastors and ministries to which God has caused our paths to cross and we have physically come together to host prayer gatherings and street outreach efforts. However, we don't get together merely for unity gatherings. These have been providential connections that have led to genuine fulfillment of God's purpose.
Carol and I see the call for unity as a call for UNITY in the SPIRIT. It is a call for unity in GOD'S PURPOSE. We must stop confusing corporate gatherings as a sign of unity and TRUST the Spirit of God as He unifies us through CORPORATE DEPLOYMENTS.
Our military is the perfect example of this. Our military is deployed all over the world, not gathered together in one spot, on U.S. soil. They are deployed by different branches (Air Force, Army, Navy, etc.), so again, they're not all doing the same thing, in the same place, in the same way. However, they are deployed with a common purpose.
For instance, God has deployed us into the urban community, to deal specifically with the urban Believer's wounds that were inflicted by their family, friends and even church leaders. So we can't command and demand that every church, every prayer group, and every para-church group join with our calling, under our marching orders.
We can't command and demand that all inner city ministries unite with us and our strategy because some of them are called to deal with drug and alcohol addictions, while others are deployed to supply food and clothes to the community.
We must each do what God has called us to do and perhaps, we're just simply supposed to make other branches of the Kingdom Warrior military AWARE of our assignment. In some cases, like we did with the other pastor, we might be able to HELP meet some of their battle needs, or supply COVERING IN PRAYER over their deployment.
Sometimes, God's orders will cause our paths to cross and we will find ourselves "coming together" in certain sectors of the war zone. But that is something GOD must orchestrate, not us.
So, this is what Chris and Carol mean by, "coming together in unity." Some of us may never meet one another physically, on this side of eternity, but we still, will have worked together and come together in unity.
Everyone must follow the orders that the Holy Spirit is giving them and obey the assigned deployment that HE is giving them. We must understand that the UNITY we are looking for is in the SPIRIT of GOD because HE is commanding ALL of us.
As human beings, we've got to relinquish this fleshly, carnal need to be in control, always knowing what everyone else is doing. We must stop striving to pull everyone into one position, under our authority. We have to simply obey our orders from the Lord, knowing that HE is speaking to others, and trust that they are doing their part as well.
BLOG AUTHORS and EDITORS: Professors Christopher and Carol Green are authors, educators, entrepreneurs, certified professional CARE-Ready life coaches, leadership consultants, songwriters, poets, compassionate listeners, trained international statesmen, ordained ministers, traditional marriage & family advisers, conflict resolution mediators, holistic wellness promoters, and human value advocates. They received their Bachelors and Masters degrees in Christian Leadership, as well as certification as master life coaches at United Graduate College and Seminary International (UGCSI). They currently serve as Vice Chancellors of Administrative Leadership at UGCSI, where they provide professional development for its consortium of Searcher Professors. They are the recipients of honorary doctorate degrees (conferred in 2016 and 2018) in Christian Leadership (Chris), Humanities (Carol), and Society and Human Rights (both) to acknowledge their many years of service and significant contributions to society in the field of life coaching.