For about a year the Lord has called out to my spirit that the Church is about to move beyond mere event-based unity, to a place of deeper, selfless collaboration. Unity is good of course. But many of us can remember the old unity events right back to the 1980’s. Our first attempts at unity in those days seemed to be about singing together in a building, ensuring we give equal platform time to each minister, dodging around doctrinal or positional insecurities and prayer meetings that always lowered themselves stylistically to the least offensive rung of the ladder. It was a start, it was good, but it wasn’t full unity. We still need to journey quite some way beyond those days.
One church leader laughed as he recounted his experience of the 1980’s unity events to me – “We had a unity event called ‘Together for the Kingdom’ – but we weren’t together and it wasn’t very Kingdom. We all argued about the cassette tape sales afterward!”
The drive for unity has continued to develop since those early 80’s efforts, and there are now many unity meetings I could be in each month. As a minister I could literally spend most days in some networking meeting or another (and some do!). But surely unity, true unity, is about more than whether we pray together or turn up at each other’s gatherings?
I do believe in this coming season we are going to grow up from mere unity events, and good friendships (both good in their own way, despite what I’ve provocatively said so far!) to a place of real collaboration. God is going to join churches together, and churches with businesses and churches with local councils. He’ll bond itinerant ministries with local fellowships in a way that has never happened before. Para-Church and Church are coming together! Local churches will share buildings, resources, leaders, staff and even members (Get your head around that one!). No church will care who gets the praise, has the most platform time, got the most new converts, or ended up paying the most!
The coming move of unity and collaboration is going to deeply challenge the pride, envy, the spirit of competition and the spirit of religion within us. It will start a fierce war in the hearts of some! But we’re also going to start to experience the most humble, sweet, selfless expressions of the Kingdom roll out across the earth as the Body of Christ starts to walk in unpretentious power, deep love and gracious mercy, like never before. Self-promoting, brand addicted, ego-centric preachers will be swept aside by modest, self-effacing, Jesus-magnifying servant leaders. What a glorious bride the Church will be!
It’s in this time that God is going to orchestrate the joining of unassuming, loving and powerful leaders to work together to expand the Kingdom in a given geographical area or sphere. We’re going to feel like bands of brothers taking on the enemy, living generously, loving outrageously! But be warned, it will only come to those who let the fire of God burn their envious, jealous, insecure hearts with His holiness.
As we enter the new era, be brave and ask yourself fiery, tough questions like these:
- What attitudes in me are hindering true unity?
- Am I insecure and how does it affect my relationships?
- Am I jealous and envious of other leaders?
- Does my envy cause me to speak harshly of other leaders, either in private or to them personally?
- Am I as kind as I should be?
- Do I truly behave as if the Church in my area is one unified team?
- Am I wasting my time with unity events that aren’t true unity? How could they become places of true unity?
- Who should I collaborate with?
- What would Jesus do with the Church in my region if He had His way fully?
An extract from Jarrod’s 2021 book “The Divine Reset” available here
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