We’re clearly not identical, so why did these girls mistake me for him? Andrew is the Vicar at St Margaret’s which is a few minutes walk from Orchard Baptist where I am the Minister. We both take assemblies in local schools and we often try to promote what each other are doing. Our churches aren’t in competition, we are on the same team. It was interesting to me that these teenagers couldn’t tell which clergyman I was. Had we done that good a job at explaining our unity or were they just not paying attention when we led assemblies?
Jesus wants his followers to be one:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 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. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. (John 17.20-21)
Jesus wants Christians to be united in the same way that he and God his father are united. They are both God and yet they are also distinct persons. We can have our individual identity as churches and people but ultimately we are the Church of which there is only one.
The idea of being one creates a problem for some because there are all sorts of churches that embarrass us, some are too harsh, others too weird, some are too dull and others use too much christianese. I find some Christians difficult and I’m sure lots of people find me and the way that I lead church odd or embarrassing. This is something we have to overcome if we want to be followers of Jesus because his desire is that we would be one. You see, it’s Jesus’ Church not yours!
It makes me sad when churches are obsessed with growing their own congregation and as a result they encourage people from other churches to join them. The culture of my church is bigger than yours is so sad when we are supposedly following Jesus who prayed we would be one.
The culture that says give your time to your church congregation only rather than serving the whole Church is wrong and un-biblical. I need to be helping Jesus as he builds his Church (of which there is only one) rather than trying to build my church.
When the Bible talks about the Church being the body of Christ it doesn’t mean Orchard Baptist, St Margaret’s or the Church of bungee jumping. It means the Church (of which there is only one). When we disassociate ourselves from other believers, when we only help those in our congregation and ignore other Christians then we are not being the body of Christ. We are not being one as Jesus and the father are one.
Why not take a moment to watch this short video which contains a creative reading from 1 Corinthians 12.12-27. As you watch it, ask yourself how you can apply it to the Church of which there is only one.