I’ll start by saying yes, it is so important to have unity in missions, but not only that. It is important to have unity in ministry in general! Being unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ is key to every aspect of our lives if we are committed to serving Him. Today, we will discover why.
One of our current outreach teams in the Mediterranean shared with us the struggle of disunity when they first got there. They were having a hard time being effective in ministry or serving out of passion. While they were doing street evangelism, they prayed about teams to split up into. They felt confident in the teams the Lord had spoken of, and set off to minister. However, after two hours of walking around the city in the rain and not having in success, they knew something wasn’t right. They went into a shop to stop and pray together about what was going on in their hearts. They asked the Holy Spirit to reveal any issues that needed to be brought into the light between the group and any lies from the enemy they had internalized so they could command them to leave in Jesus’ name.
And then they waited. One member confessed that she felt disunity and didn’t feel as connected as the other teammates. What they came to find out is that all of them were feeling the exact same way. It was a tactic of the enemy! They recognized the spiritual warfare and commanded the enemy to leave in Jesus’ name. This brought so much freedom that allowed them to effectively evangelize and encourage others with the gospel, which they weren’t able to do prior!
So what does unity mean?
Paul defines unity in Ephesians 4:5-6: “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all”
Keeping this in mind, we see that unity on outreach is absolutely vital. Let’s look at three biblical reasons why this is!
- They will know Him by our love for eachother
Firstly, unity in ministry is needed in order for others to see Christ in you. That makes it a big deal!
1 John 4 :12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”
Jesus says in John 13:45, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.“
Jesus didn’t say that they would know Him by our prayer walks. He didn’t say they would know Him by our eloquent preaching or compassionate heart for the lost. Although these things are good, His Word says they will know Him by the love that we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our love for the lost will not get us anywhere if we don’t extend the same love and grace to our fellow believers and teammates!
Another reason we must acknowledge the importance of unity in the body of Christ is we all must work together to accomplish what we are called to. We all have different strengths, giftings, and callings that aren’t meant to be done alone.
Romans 12:4 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function. so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Again in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Paul says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
It is for our own good, and the good of the body of Christ that we operate as one. By this we build each other up in love.
3. The enemy attacks where there is disunity
The devil brings lies to cause disunity and division, because he can attack where there is disunity. We saw this in the story from our outreach students. Did you know the number one reason people leave the mission field is because of strife and relationships with other believers? This shouldn’t be! This is why Paul tells us to strive to be at peace with our brothers and sisters.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Something I recently learned is that when a lion goes to attack an elephant, the herd rallies in a circle around the weaker or smaller elephants with their tusks facing outward. When the lion attacks, the elephants are able to use their tusks and defend the others. However, when an elephant goes off on its own, it is unable to defend itself when a lion attacks. This is what it is like when the body of Christ is in unity. When we are unified, we can stand our ground against the enemy. When we are not, we open a door for the enemy to work in our lives.
Disunity comes from believing a lie. We must walk in the truth to be able to minster effectively.
How do we deal with disunity?
I love this story from our outreach team because they acknowledged that something was wrong and brought it to the Lord. This is what I encourage you to do as well! Embrace open communication with each other as you ask the Lord what the root of the issue is. Ask Him to reveal the lie, and choose to partner with His truth! Go have the hard conversations with people. Pray together. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the enemy a foothold! Choose to lay down your life in love for your brothers and sisters as Jesus laid down His life for you.
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