“It’s easy to get good players. Gettin’ em to play together, that’s the hard part.”—Casey Stengel.
Many people think you need a whole bunch of superstars to make a team effective. Not necessarily. We have all seen teams that have less talent, but succeeded because they worked together as a team.
In the New Testament, the name for teamwork is “unity.” Especially in the writings of the apostle Paul, love and unity are a key focus. 1 Corinthians 1:10 is one example: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Paul knew that the one issue that could devastate the church was dissension, and that the church’s greatest potential for power was found in unity. Philippians 2 is a great passage which instructs the Christian church on how to live in unity.
Paul starts chapter 2 with: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion.” (Philippians 2:1). Then in verse 2 he talks about benefits of a church that is unified. “…then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
Paul doesn’t instruct the church to “agree on absolutely everything.” God wants unity, not uniformity. God made all of us unique. Because we are human and we are all individuals, we’re never going to agree on everything. But, we are called to be united in love, spirit, and purpose, sharing fundamental things in common.
Look at a successful marriage. What makes them successful is not that they have the same personality types, enjoy all the same hobbies, and have the same opinions on everything. But they make a successful team when they are united in what really counts: wanting the best for one another, supporting each other to become all that God calls each one to be, and working toward common values and goals, such as raising children who love the Lord. The same can be true of business or other relationships. And the church.
As a community of believers, we should want the best for each other. Yes, we may differ on the best approach when it comes to minor issues such as the number of services or when to expand and how, or whether we need to fill out the connection card each week. We may even have a different view of which Bible translation is the best. But we have fundamental truths in common. And the chief of those is that we love Jesus Christ and our passion is to know Him and to make Him known.
1. In your opinion, what is the difference between “unity” and “uniformity?”
2. The key to Christian unity is getting our focus off of ourselves and onto others. We still contend with our differences, pride, sin, and conflicts with one another. So how do we come together in a common purpose?
3. Acts 4:32a says, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul…” What does that tell you about the results and benefits of unity?
4. How can you as an individual strengthen the unity at Northstar?