In our last article, we shared unity is not uniformity. Unity is different – it simply means conforming to one purpose without sacrificing individuality. Unity is only possible where humility exists. Unity can manifest itself in acts of service not just for one another, but with one another. Churches and/or Christ-centered organizations linking arms to serve together for a common cause or goal is a glorious act of humility. Together they can have a more significant impact than possible alone.
Serving together is a way to “humble ourselves.” This is what is powerful. The Bible says, “God rejects the proud BUT gives His grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). This is why I’m personally passionate about seeing churches in cities serve alongside one another. It’s a way to corporately position the Church within a city to receive a corporate outpouring of God’s grace.
This act of humbling ourselves makes unity possible and allows us to experience God’s grace at work in our lives, doing something amazing – individually and corporately – in us, through us, and among us all, which ultimately brings God glory.
Unity is only possible when we walk in a spirit of humility. Humility is extended out of love. Love is humble and when we chose to wear it, it bonds us together (Colossians 3:14). This type of love leads to the perfect bond of unity within the context of any relationship – marriage, friendships, and even among churches and organizations.
1 Corinthians 13 gives a list of love’s attributes. There is one I’d like to draw our attention to and when applied to our lives and the decisions we make as organizations, will help us walk in a spirit of humility and unlock the door to unity. This familiar passage of scripture teaches us love does not parade itself.
In today’s world it feels like we are inundated with brands. We all work tirelessly to promote and extend our brands. We could also say we work to promote and to parade ourselves, churches, ministries, business etc… Please understand I don’t think branding our churches, ministries or businesses is a bad thing – I was a marketing major and personally work hard to brand our organization. I’m using this to make a point to all of us – myself included.
It is necessary to promote our churches or organizations because it’s a way to help grow God’s Church. However, when we find ourselves more consumed with promoting our name or brand in an effort to build our church or organization rather than consuming ourselves with branding Jesus and allowing Him to build His Church, we easily find ourselves consumed with self-promotion. We fall into the trap of building our own parade – to parade ourselves.
The natural desire is wanting to brand our organizations in hopes of experiencing growth or receiving credit for something we do. Could going against nature by periodically laying down our own brands and serving our cities together actually serve to promote and brand Jesus and lead to growth in the Church? Could this, in essence, be a good church growth plan?
I believe it would be. Why? Because this positions us corporately in a place of humility. I think we can rightfully expect God’s grace (His favor and power) to be poured out over our cities through the Church when we operate in this level of humility.
When churches, ministries or organizations in the Body of Christ choose to link arms and serve our cities together in a way that does not draw attention to our individual brands, it provides a collective opportunity to bring recognition to Jesus. It corporately humbles the Church in a city to promote Him over our brand. It brings honor and glory to His name while positioning us in a place of humility – all while serving others.
Additionally, I believe laying down our brand for a greater name and a greater cause is a good church growth plan because it allows us to corporately walk and example our love for one another. Jesus said this would be a witness. It becomes attractive to many on the outside looking in. It is light in a dark world.
In John 13:34-35 Jesus tells us it is by our love for one another that all will know we are His disciples. Our expressions of God’s love to the lost are important, but so are the expressions of love one to another.
This love must be shown for the world to see. We cannot just assume the world thinks we’re unified. Linking arms to serve our cities together is a way our love for one another and God’s love for the lost is exemplified to our communities. This is why we put on love as we would clothing – for all to see. It’s attractive to the world around us.
When the world outside the Church sees the Church serving together, it repackages and presents the Church in a genuine way – one which I believe will be refreshing not only for those outside the Church, but for those in it as well.
Love ultimately is what makes unity work. Humility flows out of love. Love binds us together perfectly.
Unity is the product of choosing to walk in love. Let’s choose well – choice is one of the most powerful tools we possess.
By Jason Law
The road to transformation begins where prayer and action meet.
Unite My City – The Church Transforming Our Cities – Together