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.