People aren’t offended by Christ. They’re offended by Christians.
Too often, it’s Christians offending fellow Christians within your church, feeding into the self-segregating nature of modern Christianity when it’s left on auto-pilot. People in the church aren’t just drifting their gaze inward, but they’re creating their own little subdivisions and cliques within the church walls.
One group prefers contemporary worship music while another only wants to worship with traditional hymns, so you start doing two different services in order to steady the waters.
Using separation as a band-aid instead of unity as a salve.
One generation wants to keep doing small groups on Zoom while the other is itching to meet in person, so you silently allow both to continue on.
Yet again, using separation as a band-aid instead of unity as a salve.
Before this past year, church leaders have been able to keep the quiet rumblings of disunity among your own congregation at bay… And then 2020 made things more divisive, more binary, more confrontational, and more political than ever.
People built the walls that separated neighbor from neighbor even higher and made them even thicker. Gossip became malice and tension became explosive both outside and inside the church.
Whether you were a part of the wall building or misspeaking is beside the point. We all watched it happen throughout the year.
So, how can you rebuild unity in your church after a year like 2020?
It is entirely possible to do so. It’s going to take grit and grace from you as a leader but is possible.
To “reunite” your church in 2020, you need to unify everyone around a common purpose.
For each individual to turn their eyes from inward to outward, beyond themselves and their preferences, lead your church in fixing its collective eyes outward.
Not in a traditional, “there are people out there who need our help and need our Savior,” way, but in actionable ways that bring our Savior to the very people who are currently not a part of your church or God’s kingdom at all.
Give people the opportunity to show the surrounding community who Christ is—together. Create the space for members of your church to come out from behind flagrant Facebook posts, to disassemble the walls of division, link arms, and look outward as one unified body.
Leading your church to adopt an outsider-first approach is a great step toward rebuilding unity. It looks different in all churches, but for your church, it could mean…
- You are intentionally designing your church services with outsiders in mind and calls to invite outsiders in mind.
- You offer programs and ministries to meet the real needs of your community that require volunteers to get involved.
- You are shifting resources from programs inside the church to supporting programs and organizations that serve your community without being a part of your church
- You are constantly reminding current members of your church that it’s the people who are NOT in attendance that need your church to be united
- You deploy programming that requires people already connected to your church to connect with each other.
- You forgo your traditional church events and repurpose that time to shed light on organizations meeting current needs in the community that need volunteers.
In 2021, rebuilding unity in your church is not about growing your church. If it grows in the process, that’s a great benefit. But rebuilding unity is about leading your church in becoming more like Christ.
Become the church known for being unified and seeking unity in 2021.
Become a church where the people who are already in attendance come together as one and first-time visitors feel welcomed enough to join in. Be one body with many beautiful members, not a fractured group.
Romans 8:14-15 reminds us that “All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children.”
God’s sons and daughters.
Adopted as His children.
Siblings bicker and fight from time to time. Relationships are messy no matter how similar or dissimilar our blood is to one another. But being a family, being sons and daughters, demands that we lay aside our preferences, and choose to stand united.
Try leading your church in treating outsiders like family and they’ll start treating each other like family along the way.
Take the Next Step
For help creating a comprehensive and strategic approach to creating unity among your colleagues, your congregation, and your community, check out the FOR Starter Kit.
The FOR Starter Kit gives you a complete roadmap to truly impacting your congregation and ultimately the community, and creating unity across the board. Don’t just throw ideas and vision at the wall and pray something sticks. Get the FOR Starter Kit and let it be your guide to building unity within your church and in your surrounding community.