What Does Unity of the Church Look Like?

I’ve had a pretty inspiring weekend.

As some of you may know, I’ve been thinking long and hard about unity, particular in relation to how worship ministers can contribute towards God’s move in uniting the church in the city. Part of this includes my crazy idea of having people from different churches form a band to lead a worship event in the Perth Cultural Centre.

Of course, I am at once both excited and freaked out by the idea.

But I think God has been speaking to me to take a serious step of faith through the encouragement of others around me.

On a small scale, the process of my discerning the will of God in this has been a blessing of unity. First Corinthians 2:16 says this:

‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.

Admittedly, I’ve always skipped over this passage because the use of the pronouns confuses me no end. But could this passage mean this: “who (individually) can discern the mind of Christ? It is only we (plural, together) who have the mind of Christ.”

So what started out as a thought (which may or may not be the will of God, tempered by my own sense of insecurity and inadequacy) is confirmed by the company of believers as the will of God.  And at a macro level (since 1 Corinthians was written to the entire church in Corinth, not just one congregation), perhaps it takes the whole church in the whole city to discern and execute the will of God for the city!

So, as I was praying about the idea of bringing worshippers together, a pastor came up to me yesterday and encouraged me.  He told me that I should pursue the dream because, in his words, “I don’t want to die wondering”.

And this morning, during a Missions Forum at Faith Community Church, a missionary friend of mine was asked what concluding thought he would give the congregation, and he said (words to the effect of) “just go and do what God has placed in your heart”.

So now, I’m feeling all the more that pursuing the dream of uniting worshippers in the city is part of God’s plan and desire. I’m more and more confident of this.

As I was talking to the pastor yesterday (who by the way has helped prototype unity in cities before), he asked me what I thought unity amongst worshippers might look like.  Here are some of the thoughts I shared with him:

  • Worship ministers being able to support and encourage one another through the challenges of leading worship ministries in our own congregations;
  • Worship ministers sharing ideas;
  • Worship ministers sharing resources and joint training (in fact, I learnt this weekend that next year, Metrochurch is about to launch its Worship Academy to train worship ministers in the city!);
  • Worship teams from large churches being sent into smaller churches to help the smaller churches lift the watermark of worship and to develop self-sufficient teams in the medium term;
  • Worshippers gathered together from different congregations together to passionately exalt the name of Jesus in public places.

My pastor friend had more ideas to, including worship leaders exchanging platforms (that made sense, seeing that pastors sometimes exchange pulpits, so why not the worship leaders?).  He told me how he had seen this happen and I wondered what it would look like for an Anglican to lead a worship service in a Charismatic church for example.

And my pastor friend told me of even more examples of what unity might look like, such as congregations helping each other to pay off debt; the church in the city planting congregations (led by students and teachers) in every school in the city; intercessors being mobilised to pray 24/7 (this is already happening in Perth!) and youth groups coming together.

In Prayer Evangelism, Ed Silvoso said:

God did not give all His gifts to one person or one congregation in the city but distributed them all over the Church. This way its members would be required to interact and be interdependent in order to be effective.

In other words, it takes the whole church in the whole city to reach the entire city!

My prayer is that you will also dream big for the city. In the ministry God has called you to, what would it look like if the congregations in your city united together for Christ’s cause? What would it look like when intercessors across congregations get together? Or worshippers? Or teachers? Or youth leaders? Or community workers? Feel free to share your thoughts here.

4 thoughts on “What Does Unity of the Church Look Like?

  1. Hi Lester – I walked past the Cultural Square the other day at the Hay Street Mall and thought about your desire to see worship happening here. I felt good about it and sensed that it can happen. If this is a call from God, then as a surrendered Christian, you just need to stand ready to obey. Watch out for divine appointment and let’s see what Gid will evolve in the days ahead! – Benny Ho

    1. Thanks ps Benny for the encouragement. I definitely feel a greater resonance now to take that first step and see what happens and leave it in God’s hands.

  2. Awesome sharing Lester, and a vision worth getting behind! I love how this isn’t limited to just a specific ministry like worship, but rather it’s something that every church member, no matter their calling, gift or ministry, can contribute to. I think a good word for it would be “collaboration” – where we are no longer limited by organisational boundaries, but instead can work and share ideas/resources across ministries, churches, businesses and community groups, to pursue dreams that we cannot do on our own. I’ve always been a big dreamer, and your post has definitely reminded me to not to pursue my dream as an individual, but to sync my dream with those around me – which also means being unafraid to share! I am convinced that the full potential that God has envisioned for each of us can only be experienced in relationship with others, and that ordinary people joining forces to work together will see crazy Kingdom dreams come true. Count me in for your worship night at PCC! – Stef

    1. Awesome stef! I love how you have articulated this. Let’s definitely keep dreaming big and ridiculous. Who knows how God will use ordinary folk like us to extend His kingdom in our city! Reminds me of the Tower of Babel:

      The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:6 NIV)

      Except it will be for good instead of evil 🙂

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