Unity is essential for any kind of achievement. It’s needed in families; to have a happy family you must have unity. It’s needed in business; employees must learn to get along. Unity is needed in government if anything is to be accomplished. On any sport team, players have to be unified in order to win.
But especially in the church, there must be unity for God to be able to work and for the church to become all that God wants it to be. Unity is a key theme in the Bible. It is up to each member to help safeguard the church’s unity. Churches are made up of people, and, believe it or not, there are no perfect people, so they get into conflict with each other. Everyone must learn how to deal with conflict and become united. Why is unity so important in the church?
Jesus prayed about it. Just before Jesus was crucified, He prayed for His followers. In this prayer, Jesus prayed for the unity of the church (John 17:20-24). How would our churches change if we joined Jesus in His prayer for unity? What if churches were actually operating in unity? What if members were striving together constantly to fulfill God’s mission? We might see God move in ways none of us has ever seen.
We are commanded to make unity the top priority. JONAS ARRAIS JONAS ARRAIS | General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary Unity was a top priority for Jesus and for His church, and it should be our top priority as well. The Bible commands us: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace” (Eph. 4:3). One of our primary jobs as Christians is to maintain unity and promote peace—whatever it takes!
It is a witness to the world. In John 13:34, 35, Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” When church members love each other, there is unity and harmony. Guests will walk into the church and say, “There’s something going on in here that I want.”
A unified church is blessed. Acts 2:46, 47 says: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
As church leaders, I challenge you to preach on unity. I don’t mean mentioning unity on occasion or talking about it during the Lord’s Supper. I don’t even mean bringing it up when you know of a disagreement in the body. I mean preach on unity regularly, emphasizing why no church will accomplish God’s mission without it. I also challenge you to model it. You cannot lead your church to be unified if there are broken relationships in your own life. What you live, people learn. People expect the church leaders to model the behavior of a fully mature disciple. This seems clear in Paul’s challenge to “follow me as I follow Christ.”