“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Jesus prayed as recorded at John 17: 21 (KJV)
Whoever have seen Church history will wonder if Jesus prayer was never accomplished. All comes first in our minds are the disagreements and splits. It’s even more spread now with evangelical churches.
What does this have to do with Albanian Outreach? A lot! Specially the mission work among Diaspora. I have been in contact with few Albanian Christians here in North America and with almost everyone I have something to disagree. It has been a time when I was more interested to be right that to be together. But as I’ve seen church splits over things that could be resolved, extra work that needed to be done by smaller churches in the same area, instead of working together and dividing the work, I think now differently.
Missionally we need to be outward focused, so we need to be concerned how to reach the lost. Together we can reach more and better.
But can we do a great work knowing that we don;t agree in everything? I believe YES.
Firstly, because Jesus prayed and always he gave examples of working in unity.
Secondly we know that Satan works dividing people and groups, so we need to resist that urge.
Thirdly, if we see the church as a marriage we will work harder to keep the unity, in the midst of differences. How? Having love the sticking ingredients.
I’m not saying that we don;t have anymore beliefs or interpretations that disagree with others. I’m saying that if those are not essential in God’s work, we need to be humbled and accept working with people who think a bit differently than us.
I remember my dad who asked me: “why are you 6 evangelical churches in our city? why don;t you work together?” He added that the Orthodox church, he belonged in that time, had more unity and people could go to different locations, but was the same church. I told him a half truth: “All churches have been planted by different agencies”. Years later when my church (Word of Life) was merged with “Mission Joshua” and became one church- “the Jesus Fellowship”, we hoped that we work towards having one church in the city. It was a difficult first year, but we later became one church.
So it is possible to have unity with diversity, surely needs love and being humble, but with God’s grace we can have them too in abundance.
What can we do practically to make that possible?