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Unity between churches is often a hard goal. There are a lot of things that come between the desire to have unity between two unique churches. But these problems that pop up time and again do not have to be deal-breakers when it comes to unifying the church.

We, as the body of Christ, must first understand and respect that there are various beliefs, traditions, and unique qualities that are found in the different churches that dot our local and global landscapes.

When we seek to unify churches, we must not do so with the mindset or goals of “changing” the other churches to better align with our beliefs. Just like when we seek to bring a more multicultural perspective to our own churches, we must be willing to allow for some freedom on the part of those we are spending time with.

One way to reconsider the idea of partnering with other churches is to think about what you do when you come across a new friend or even acquaintance. Do you immediately tell them they have to agree with you on a certain set of details to even come hang out with you? Or do you pick up on one unifying characteristic (be that love of movies, concerts, art, etc.) and talk about that or join together to go to an event?

If we knew everything about a person’s beliefs before we hung out with them, there is a 99% chance that we would write them off on some belief before we ever got to know them. Even if those beliefs are “wrong,” we deny ourselves and the other person the opportunity to discuss them on a deeper, more relational level.

When it comes to partnering churches, we must join together with them based on our singular love of God and Christ. Then from there, we can move on in relationship and further discuss those differences between us in a manner that leads to unity.

So how do we unify churches? By not focusing on who’s right and who’s wrong, but by focuses on both of our loves for Christ and desire to see the Kingdom of God manifested on earth. When relationships start between churches, unity occurs.

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Our series on the “Divine Us” seeks to analyze questions which surround the idea of unity between the body of Christians. As believers united around Christ, we sure struggle with maintaining unity across cultural and racial lines. We may not have anything against another race or culture, but we often find ourselves isolated from other believers who are different than us.

If you haven’t, read the last two blog posts on the church and segregation.

Once we’ve come to terms with the idea that segregation inhibits unity, we can start looking deeper into the idea of how to establish unity in our churches.

Relationship is key to unity. When we are friends, when we are brothers and sisters, we find that unity occurs somewhat naturally. When we keep from deepening our relationships with one another in the body of Christ, we usually find ourselves unified in nothing more than belief. That is, there is no action to our unity and we only really pay lip-service to the unity that Christ calls us to.

So, how do we establish unity in our churches?

We establish relationships.

How do we desegregate our churches?

We establish relationships.

How do we bring two churches with denominational differences together?

We establish relationships.

How do we become like the “Divine Us?”

We establish relationships.

Relationships are key to everything we do as believers in Christ. The Trinity is in a perfect relationship as they work towards the will of the Father in unity. We are to become unified in the same way.

Force never accomplishes unity. Telling people they have to be unified will accomplish nothing. However, showing people how to love one another well and what relationship truly looks like will show people what relational unity is.

Spend some time considering what Christ-like relationships look like and how those relationships bring unity. Then return here and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Our last post discussed a simple but confrontational question: Can we as Christians be unified if our churches are segregated?

The answer doesn’t appear to be positive.

Paul dealt with a similar situation in his first letter to the Corinthians. The Corinthians, though, were not divided over race but over which leader baptized them. Some were saying they were of Apollos, or Cephas, or Christ. They were making divisions among themselves as they followed their ideal teacher.

Paul addressed the situation clearly: “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Similarly, churches today make the same divisions across cultural lines. Some act like they are saying, “I am of the Black church,” or, “I am of the conservative or liberal White church,” or “I am of the Korean church,” etc. Many Christians also actually divide themselves according to their church denominations.

Isn’t all of this very similar to the issue that Paul was correcting in 1 Corinthians?

Our last post implied that a segregated church cannot be a unified church. Paul clearly makes that point in his letter. So then, the key to unity among ourselves and our churches today is desegregation.

Our churches must desegregate racially to enter into the unity of the “Divine Us.”

Our churches must desegregate denominationally to enter into the unity of the “Divine Us.”

Our churches must desegregate from mindless tribalism to enter into the communal heart that the Trinity lives in.

We’ve done a great job at segregating ourselves yet still holding onto the unity of Christ. We are only partially unified. As a church, reach out to those who are different than you. White churches, reach out to Black churches. Black churches, reach out to Korean churches. And vice versa. In doing so, we will see the unity of the Kingdom of God made real in our nation and cities.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to get a glimpse of what it looks like to have a desegregated worship service.

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