Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… I just finished spending several days in retreat with our furloughing Fellowship International missionaries; it was a time of enrichment, training and debrief.
I continue to be so grateful for the quality of our missions personnel. It’s a joy to be with them.
One quality I keep seeing in Fellowship International is the UNITY that characterizes our team of missionaries—we are a family. Some of them have not seen one another for four years, but they smile, hug and pray together like it was yesterday. Many follow one another’s ministries, pray for each other, and even support each other financially.
We have extraordinary people representing our churches in 18 different countries world-wide.
UNITY: How do you maintain it?
Having witnessed how beautiful UNITY can be through the example of our missionaries last week, I thought I’d mention some suggestions on how we might maintain unity in our local churches. Here are four quick tips:
1. Nurture an attitude of acceptance (Romans 14:1-23). The Apostle Paul is saying that we should not major on the minors. Don’t insist that everyone must agree; when there is disagreement, we should ask ourselves, “is this an essential area?” If it is, it’s worth a dispute.
2. Maintain a common purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10). Purpose does produce church unity. That purpose needs to be clearly communicated, and often. Purpose keeps the church focused, and the by-product is unity.
3. Everyone needs to watch their tongue (James 3:1-12). Refuse to gossip. When you hear something, direct it to the appropriate person. If the concern has nothing to do with you, it’s not your problem, nor do you have any part to play in the solution. Walk away—its gossip.
4. Support your leaders (Hebrews 13:17). Churches are supposed to make their leaders' job a joy. This results in a strong and unified church.
Unity is a beautiful thing to witness. I enjoyed the unity of spirit I saw among our missionaries last week, and I love seeing it among our local churches across Canada. No church drifts into unity; it’s intentional, and requires hard work… but it’s worth it!
A brief note about Fellowship National Conference 2014
Plans are well under way for this year’s conference, which will be held in Toronto November 10-12 featuring special speakers Ed Stetzer and Dom Ruso. Each Fellowship Church should have received an e-mail with a link to all the conference information, including registration forms. If your church has not received an e-mail with the link to FNC, please contact Ruth Heaton (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, check our website. Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto as we “Finish the Task”!
Have a blessed week,