Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
Church unity is not merely a program. The church in South Africa understands this.
That, I think, is the biggest difference I have noticed between the church in South Africa and the church in America. From my very first trip there with a team of teacher/facilitators, overviewing the Five Principles of Unity, I noticed that the teaching was received just a little differently than we ordinarily experience. That first trip, we did conferences in 14 churches in Cape Town, just like we often do when we take our conferences “on the road” into other countries. The people were engaged and attentive, as is often the case. But it was the discussion after the conferences that was different.
When looking into what our ministry does with churches, I often have pastors and church leaders ask something along the lines of “How does this program work?” The implication is that it is some kind of well-contained magical seminar that can bring unity to a church in 5 easy steps. And after a few hours of conference, there are often comments of gratitude and such for an entertaining, engaging conference. All of this happens despite our warnings that the Bible’s guidance for preserving the unity of the Spirit is no easy task and cannot be learned in a 4-hour conference. Rather, it will take a deliberate commitment on the part of the church body to make some significant changes in their lives and in how they handle relationships.
But I often find that churches (and this is particularly true of the church in America) are not really seeking after changed lives. They are seeking entertainment and maybe even challenging teaching, but they’re not …