Sunday, February 3, 2008

Purpose Driven Life - Day 21 - Protecting Your Church

A key passage for us today as we look to fulfill our vision of being a church of 2,000. Unity and doing everything we can to protect that unity is so important. I've seen too many churches split and people leave over issues which could have been resolved if people had been willing to follow the Biblical advice given here. Very interesting to see some of the blog comments relating to exactly this issue.

I can't imagine many of you will get to read this before either of todays gatherings but either way I'm praying for you that you'll encounter God today.

Simon.

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It is your job to protect the unity of your church!

Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body. It is the essence, the core, of how God intends for us to experience life together in his church.

In his final moments before being arrested, Jesus prayed passionately for our unity. It was our unity that was uppermost in his mind during those agonizing hours. That shows how significant this subject is. Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it, and he wants it protected, especially from the devastating damage that is caused by division, conflict, and disharmony.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

How are we to do this? The Bible gives us practical advice:
- Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Choose to encourage rather than criticize.
- Refuse to listen to gossip.
- Practice God’s method for conflict resolution.
- And most importantly, support your pastor and leaders.

What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving? There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in the Dominican Republic and love my Spanish church, which is going through difficulties. I was studying The Purpose Driven Life, chapter 21 to seek God's guidance and came upon, not by chance, your blog in my search. I was able to copy the excellent summary and then pass through a translator as my Spanish is far from perfect, with the hope of using this as a starting point to help restore unity.

Please pray for our church and know that God has blessed us through your work.

Simon Benham said...

I'm really glad you found the entry helpful. I'll be praying for you that Christ breaks into your church situation and brings the unity he longs for and prayed for.

Thanks also for taking the time to leave a comment - it's very encouraging!

Simon.

Anonymous said...

and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.
why it is we need to lock the door to keep them away