As an introvert, I have found that I prefer to avoid working with groups at all cost. I enjoy being left to myself as I study or serve God. I like to think that I can do it all by myself. However, as a pastor I am learning that I need several people involved to help. If I were to try to do all the activities and needs of the church I would become burned out, and no use to anyone. Our churches are made up of several people and group dynamics and to think that I can fit into all of them is absurd. Yet, I find myself often trying to make others fit into a certain mold, and the lesson that I have been learning lately is that of unity.
Unity is not a one size fits all concept. Rather unity is a goal of many sizes working together for a common goal. Within the local church this is easy to see. Young adults and elderly groups working to help witness to the community, or many families contributing to help one family. There are countless ways we see our local church of individuals working together. In the same way we can easily see similar churches work together for missions, VBS, and other outreach. Yet, in all of those situations, there still seems to be a very common core. The local church and church fellowships are still almost a one size when it comes to working together.
In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the body of Christ having many parts, then gives us list of individual gifts. However, as he is giving these list, he is also addressing churches with several different beliefs. History has shown that the early church was a dynamic and diverse group as it is today. If we understand these passages to include those different groups how much greater is unity? How much more could we achieve when we focus on building each other up, rather than point out differences? I know that by being able to work with believers from other denominations and focus on what matters most, Christ, I have been able to reach places in my community that would have been closed off. I would encourage all of us to remember that all believers make up the body of Christ and our goal should be to work in unity with all of them to share Christ with the world.
Author: Pastor Shaun Winters