A lot has changed over the last few decades in American Christianity. We have diligently pursued the lost, the broken, and the disenfranchised Christians in as many ways as we could think of. We try new things and we grow through bad ideas; all of this is a testament to the hearts of the church wanting to actually BE the church. But we are on the cusp of a new era where unity is paramount to our growth and health, and if we aren’t careful we’ll end up where we have always been.
As with all things that contain the human element, the church undulates (we swing back and forth trying to manage the friction between a fallen world full of fallen people and a perfect, risen Savior). If you look back through the history of the church, even including the nation of Israel, you can see the logic of men pushing us away from the negative aspects of our religious practices with our eyes set on a “new” way which inevitably produces some new negative aspects. Just stop kicking.
Right now we sit in a place where we are starting to deconstruct the corporate and political structures in our churches with the increase of non-denominational churches. We are making places where the people whom Jesus sought out feel comfortable to come by loving without judgment and serving them as He would. But as we swing the pendulum from judgment and religiosity we are slowly seeing the resurgence of doctrinal difference which created the systems we are trying to eradicate.
We can continue down this path of new circumstances and ideas to solve problems that will never really disappear or we can become more aware of our predicament and shorten the distance between the to and fro of our undulation.
How Do We Do This?
As we have started to move to a posture of “cleaning up the house” we have inadvertently become more internally focused. This is not necessarily a bad thing until you add people. This internal focus breeds a disconnect in the body when we start focusing on the “what” and “how” and ignore the “why”. It is how every denomination got started. People focus on how something should be and then a group of those people say, “Wait a minute that’s not right” and that divides the body of Christ into a fragmented zombie state.
The Body of Christ – the Church – was never supposed to be a group of people doing the “what” and “how” over and over forever, but we are supposed to be driven by the why of our mission. As we internalize, our mission becomes perverted and we actually lose focus and unity. We must push heavily into Unity through focus.
If we just continue to shepherd people to focus on the “why” and stop shepherding people to the “what” and “how” of Jesus then we can minimize the internal nature of man in the Body of Christ. Regardless of what the external expression of the gospel is for your local church, your family, or yourself, we will build a unity unshakeable by the weakness of our nature when we all spend our time and affections on the two greatest commands which is the “why” to the “how” and “what” of the Great Commission.