I am fully convinced that Satan uses the footholds of trivial occurrences to disunify the local church. A church that is not unified around the gospel is not a church on mission for the gospel. Before taking on the pastoral role at my church, I spent a year supply preaching in various small churches throughout the state. Often after our service together, a very encouraging and loving deacon and his family would take us to lunch. So many times during those lunches I heard the story of a church that began as a split from another or a church that was in the middle of serious discord. They wanted to grow numerically, but were caught in the throws of disunity surrounding the most random splattering of issues.
You’ve heard the horror stories. You may have been a part of one of this painful schisms. Carpet color. Light fixtures. Window treatments. He-said, she-said arguments. Affairs. Hurt feelings. Rumors.
It’s a shame we’ve allowed the often times trivial issues to derail our mission as a local church. We are called to demonstrate the gospel to a lost world. The church is a visible beacon of hope to a dying world. The congregation individually and collectively radiates the love, mercy, compassion, hope and light of the gospel. This is enough to keep us busy for our lifetimes. The gospel isn’t a gospel of disunity but of unity in our quest to make disciples of all nations.
What happens to our churches that plucks us so far off our mission? Could it be that we forget the purpose of our gathering. Do we forget that we aren’t coming to church for ourselves? We’re gathering, worshipping, hearing and fellowshipping together for the purpose of going out, not staying in. Being nourished with the bread of life so that we may invite others to the table along with us.
I do believe the longer we stay in, the longer we focus inwardly. The more we go out, the more we focus outwardly.
Discord and disunity will arise in any church or group, people are involved. We must be careful, as leaders to lead to a place of peace.
Refocus our attention on the hope and message of the gospel.
Reframe our perspectives on the mission of the church to go out and to make disciples.
Remind ourselves of the spiritual warfare seeking to disrupt and disunify the church.
It’s our job to be peacemakers at our churches and to ward off the threats of divisions we may see. To be loving and humbly lead with a servant-hearted example to our churches.
A church that is unified under the banner of the gospel will always accomplish more than a church fractured by infighting, petty divisions and discord. We must do all we can to foster an environment of peace and unity.
As we pray for our churches, pray the Lord would bring peace and focus to the mission he has given for his church. Pray for a unified body that unifies over gospel truths and lovingly seeks truth. Pray for the urgency of gospel hope to prevail over trivial disputes.