What does the Bible say about unity in your church? How can you keep spiritual unity intact?
God desires spiritual unity. The Bible provides direction for churches to protect this cohesion that blesses both God and his people.
Keep reading to learn practical ways to protect spiritual unity in your fellowship.
Commit to Protecting Spiritual Unity
God wants you to learn the skill of unselfish love because it makes one of his and his son’s greatest desires—unity among his spiritual family—possible. God desires unity because it’s the glue that holds churches together. Without it, you can’t have genuine fellowship or the possibility of harmony and respect between church members.
The Bible provides five practical methods for performing your duty of protecting spiritual unity.
Method #1: Focus on Commonalities
If all you focus on is how the people in your church are different from you, it’ll be impossible to feel unified with them or help them find each other’s unifying points. You can overcome this in two ways:
- Think about what you have in common. For example, you all share the same faith, you all share the experience of the same church, and you all have the same eternity to look forward to.
- Reflect on the value of your differences. God didn’t want all the members of his church to be the same—he purposely gave everyone different looks, personalities, skills, and experiences, and he wants you to love them all. Think of differences less as points of division and more as points of celebration by listening to the experiences of others, getting to know them, and enjoying the new perspectives they give you.
Method #2: Don’t Expect Perfection
Your church is your family and has flaws, just like any other family. But, as with any other family, you don’t abandon them because of their flaws or mistakes—you work through your issues and find a way to improve together.
If you abandon your imperfect church family in search of a church with no flaws, you’ll never find it. There is no such thing as a perfect church, only churches trying their best to make their reality as close to the ideal as possible. Searching for perfection will leave you hopping from church to church as a spectator, but never a member.
- This means you’ll never have the opportunity to engage in fellowship with other members and learn the skill of unselfish loving. By searching for perfection, you’ll miss out on the second purpose of your life.
Method #3: Encourage Others
When you criticize members of your church, you are arrogantly putting yourself in God’s place—only God can judge his believers. Passing criticism on others is damaging in multiple ways:
- It’s a sinful action that you’ll be judged for in the end, not the target of your criticism.
- The points you choose to judge in others reveal your own points of insecurity.
- Hurtful criticism damages spiritual unity and harmony.
If you feel that someone is doing something the “wrong” way, encourage them in another direction instead of overtly criticizing them. This redirects your energy away from judgment toward the productive work of improving together.
Imagine that someone in your church shows up for Sunday services but doesn’t interact with any other members and hasn’t gotten involved in any activities. You have a choice to make:
- Criticism: You gossip to a friend, “Have you noticed that Martha never stays after services and hasn’t come to any events in her two years here? She’s not so much a member as a spectator.”
- Encouragement: You approach her and say, “Martha, I wanted to introduce myself. I’m part of a Thursday night Bible study group that would love to get to know you if you’re interested in joining us.”
Method #4: Shut Down Gossip
It’s intuitive that the act of gossiping is sinful, but you might not realize that simply listening to it is wrong, too. By listening, even if you don’t respond, you’re demonstrating that gossip and rumors—powerful weapons of hurt—are allowed.
You have to speak up and stop gossip when you hear it, remembering to speak to the gossiper directly but lovingly, as you would a member of your family.
- For example, you might say, “I’d prefer that you not talk to me about that because it sounds like a private issue with Tim. Did he give you permission to share that information?”
Method #5: Show Support to Leaders
Often, the leaders of your church serve as conflict mediators, helping members reconcile their relationships and work through various hurts. This job is taxing—not only are they trying to preserve spiritual unity, but they’re also trying to accomplish the impossible task of keeping everyone happy.
Their hard work and dedication to what’s best for you deserves your respect and trust—they’ll always give you the best counsel they can.
- You can show them your support by praying for them, loving them, making known your appreciation for them, and encouraging them. Urge your fellow church members to do the same.
Spiritual unity honors God, blesses his people, and serves as a powerful witness of love to the world. It is up to each member of God’s family to protect it.
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