by Joel Wayne
HUDSONVILLE, MI – Many leaders go to sleep in the evening feeling that they did well if they kept civility, much less unity. Emails are received, phone calls made. They are trying to keep the tension of preferences to a manageable number. Churches are notorious for requiring, even forcing, leaders to spend all of their time and energy on inward matters of the church, rather than outward needs of the community. The question; What is the best way to change that scenario? How can a leader go to bed at night with less worry of dissension within the walls of the church, and more vision for how God can use their church to grow the kingdom?
Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Keeping unity in the midst of little change, little opposition and with the same people can be challenging. However, keeping unity in the midst of constant change, great opposition and in a culture in which every person is taught to value their opinion above all else, is impossible without God. It is HARD, but it is vital and essential. So, this begs the question, how must we keep unity in the midst of tremendous change? Is the answer to keep things as “normal” as possible. No!
Today, with daily upheavals in change, we can easily make decisions that provide temporary peace. We can cater to the loudest voice for the sake of ease. The goal of the leader is not to avoid conflict (being a peacekeeper) but to manage conflict biblically resulting in wise decision making and problem solving (being a peacemaker).
When you allow anything other than Godly-wisdom in making decisions, your unity is automatically at stake. Caving to the least amount of opposition (conflict) doesn’t lead to the greatest amount of biblical unity.
Unity for churches gives the courage to leaders to claim greater territory for the Kingdom of God. People become less concerned about what others may not like, or personal preferences, and more concerned about what God is desiring. Life is too short to be interested in a false sense of unity that does not help people explode with the love and compassion of Jesus. It is a community of biblical unity that allows the spirit to give oneness of mind of and heart, nudging people toward Christ. This is the result of biblical unity.
Key ways to keep unity is to:
Rely on Godly-wisdom, not human preference (seek scripture and pray to know the difference)
Clearly and continually state what God has called you (your vision)
Build a strategy to accomplish the vision (this lets you know when to say ‘no’ as well as when to say ‘yes’)
Bring alignment at the level of implementation to execute the strategy (helping teams own and accomplish the vision)
Celebrate the victories (wins create momentum and passion)
God is on the move. Christ is building His church.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joel Wayne has spent twenty years improving leadership and cultivating healthy culture within churches and organizations in Connecticut, Kentucky, and Michigan. He is the lead pastor of Chapel Pointe in Hudsonville, Michigan. Joel also founded Be the Church, a movement that assists churches and ministries in revitalization and renewal. Joel and his wife, Melissa, have four children, Carson, Kate, Ashley, and Bennett.