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Keep Your Peeps Covered! (Day 21)

on April 5, 2012

“Unity is the soul of fellowship.” ~~ Pastor Rick Warren

It’s our responsibility to cultivate unity and to protect it, or as the youngsters say, we gotta look out for our peeps!  It’s the core of how God wants to experience Him together, and we are commissioned by Jesus Christ to do our best to promote harmony and protect the fellowship by “making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

We effectively do this by:

  • Focusing on our commonalities, embracing our differences.  “Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of one another’s character.” (Romans 14:19)
  • Having realistic expectations.  There’s no such thing as a perfect church, and if there were, none of us would be accepted into it!  God has a lot to teach us in our fellowship as well as our failures.  The question is do we run at the first sign of disappointment?  Do we do that in other areas of our lives?  Realistic expectations help us to mature in our faith walk.
  • Making the choice to encourage rather than tear down.  It’s easier to speak ill of someone rather than find the redeeming qualities about them.  This rule of thumb also takes place in our churches.  One negative word about somebody is typically spread to at least nine people, whereas a kind word goes as far as 1-2 people.  I don’t know about you, but this seems a little backwards to me.  Speak life, for “the words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)
  • Leaving gossip alone!  When we take the time to listen to it, we’re just as guilty as the person spewing it.  Have the courage to say, “You know what, this person isn’t here to defend themselves.  Leave them alone.”  Watch what happens.
  • Practicing God’s ways for resolving conflicts.  The Word says it’s a three-step process: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him – work it out between the two of you.  If he listens, you’ve made a friend.  If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.  If he still won’t listen, tell the church.” (Matthew 18:15-17a, Msg.)  More times than not, we take matters into our own hands, and most times all hell breaks loose. We must include God’s wisdom, as He has the answers we need to resolve the issue. 
  • Undergurding our pastors and leaders in prayer and support.  We’re the people who lead the charge God commanded us.  As an elder, I take seriously the role I have at my church, from sponsoring a young baptism candidate to leading communion and everything in between.  And as one of the youngest elders on the board, I look to my ministerial staff and seasoned elders for guidance and leadership, and the way they set the temperature of the congregation overall.

A unified church family is a blessed church family.  Like the television show Cheers, the church becomes a place where everyone wants to belong to and where everybody knows your name.  The next time you’re at church, take the time to check the atmosphere.  If it’s not so favorable, be the change agent.

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