Last Sunday afternoon I went to the Church on the Field event which is part of the Love Prettygate initiative. The three Churches in the Prettygate area of Colchester have been working together culminating in this fantastic event. I want to congratulate them for their partnership and for the great example that they are setting.
The Lifehouse is a Partners in Harvest Church.
Plume Avenue Church is a United Reformed Church.
Prettygate Baptist Church is a Grace Baptist Church.
These types of churches don’t always talk to each other let alone work together. What blesses me is the way that the leaders have put aside what might divide them and have instead focused on what unites them.
‘I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you’ (Jesus, John 17.21).
I find it sad that some churches choose to put their theology before the clear desire and prayer of their Lord and saviour. Some Christians forget that unity is a command as well.
‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’ (Ephesians 4.3). Dave Wuyts (the pastor of The Lifehouse) has this reflection on the verse: ‘Being the Church involves keeping a unity we already have in God’. He goes on to say that ‘you don’t create unity, you discover it and preserve it’.
The Prettygate churches are prioritizing sharing the gospel and the love of Jesus and at the same time they are being an answer to Jesus’ prayer. They aren’t fitting in with a national campaign or working together because someone told them to, they are being united just because they can. They have realized the truth that some Christians can’t grasp:
There is only one Church!
When Jesus said that he would build his church he didn’t mean individual congregations, he said church, not churches.
May the Prettygate churches inspire us to be united together as we discover and preserve God’s gift of unity and as we work together in sharing the good news that we have found in Christ.
How can each of us be an answer to Jesus’ prayer? How can we be one?