“Unity—A Package Deal.”
Regularly, boxes of clothing, shoes, kitchenware and books are dropped off at the church building. Over the years I have rummaged through countless boxes of books being ‘sent to a new home’ as Baby-boomers downsize (“My Friends and Other Animals” was my best surprise find). Like you, I have long since concluded that you can tell a man by the books he reads. He collects authors to take his mind to where he would like to be. Assuming that all the books are collected by the one man, you will see that no matter how diverse the collection appears, there is rhyme and reason to it—a unity exists. So too with our churches.
An outsider may see diversity of ethnicity, age, class and intellect, but if the congregation is telling the same story, then there is not likely to be too much difference in thought and direction. Core beliefs are the glue that holds a congregation together. Corrupt them, and division is inevitable. By this point I wonder if you might be thinking, “I know a church where everyone was ‘telling the same story’–They all believed the same things, but suddenly (or eventually), they fell apart.” This tragedy is easily explained. Just check the depth of their ‘stated core beliefs’ against the fruit produced. It’s one thing to say we believe in the teachings of Christ, but quite another for them to be the beating heart of our congregation. All Christians long for the author of our salvation to write this one law on our hearts: “Love one another, even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). This is the core message of unity, anything else is graffiti. This is the love story of the ages. A loving God redeeming his helpless enemies from deserved damnation. As the central narrative of our congregations, this alone will bring Me, You and God together forever: Unity—The perfect package deal!