Church Unity in Crisis and Chaos

Church Unity in Crisis and Chaos

Eventually we end our church shopping and settle on a congregation that we enjoy. We settle down, start getting involved, and create relationships. Once we embrace the fact that no singular church is perfect, we can really settle in and enjoy our church home. Sometimes we may even become a bit of a church snob, thinking the way we do it is so much better than everyone else’s church. Sometimes we can even get a little siloed into our Christian clique. There is one thing that quickly breaks down a church’s wall and when individually operating church bodies become the big “C” church. Crisis.

I’ve had the opportunity, several times, to see churches unite together in the face of crisis, chaos and uncertain times to work together to love and serve their communities in order to bring recovery and healing. Disaster has a way of creating a problem so big that we have no choice but to band together as the church of Christ. I’ve seen it after disasters, seen it on big city-wide service days, and now again during the coronavirus.

The united church is really a beautiful thing. Every day I work for an organization that partners with over 30 churches to meet needs in the community and I’m continually amazed at how bible believing churches can be so different. Not only are there differences in non-essential doctrine, but their church culture is wide ranging. That’s okay though, because the church is both local and universal (Rom 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 1 Thess 1:1) and the church isn’t meant to have one overarching corporate and governing body.

That’s the confusing part of church unity isn’t it? We easily equate unity with the same. No church is meant to be the same though, we are meant to be different parts of one body (1 Cor 12:12-26). Just as individuals have different gifts, so do churches.

We unite in our belief of salvation by faith alone and practicing the sacraments. We unite by coming together to preach, worship, care for fellow believers and work for the benefit of all people – this witnesses to the world of Jesus Christ (John 10:16, John 17:21-23).

21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:21-23

When life is happening day to day, it’s easy for churches to bicker over non-essentials or just live in their church bubble. But when disaster strikes, it’s time to lay those aside and work for the common good of the community. There is nothing like the powerful force of every church and believer working together to selflessly serve to bring about healing to a city. This is where the diversity of gifts really comes into play.

After a crisis, problems are enormous. People are scared, hopeless, suffering and there is no cure other than the gospel of Christ and His people going out to preach, serve, love, and witness during the midst of trial. Yet, no church can meet every need on its own. But when every local church brings it’s gifting to the larger universal church body, well then, the problems quickly begin to shrink. Light begins to shine again, people can have their physical needs met and find rest in the peace and hope that only God offers.

There are many things I enjoy about my job. And I love that churches and pastors collaborate throughout the year. Something magical happens after disaster strikes though. We are all rowing quickly towards the same goal and I truly believes it shines the light of Christ so bright that those who are believers have their faith deepened and those who don’t believe want to. We continuously pray for our unity and out pouring of sacrificial love during the darkest times to reflect Christ for the whole world will see and believe in our resurrected King.

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