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ABCDE OF UNITY


More than two decades back when four others and myself came together to start an informal worship sessions in Green Park, New Delhi; we had no idea of what God has prepared for us. But we had a sincere prayer that people from all nations and tribes should come together and gather as one in the church, sinking their differences and reflecting God’s glory in all the vibrant colours. 


So when the church decided to count all the members for the first time ever, the results were a confirmation of what has blessed us with. As of September last year, TCFC had members from 28 different states within India, and four foreign countries. (For further details refer to Infographic on Census results in Page 5-7).


Co-existence with people with different cultures, languages, traditions, ambitions and perceptions is a challenge. First century church also faced challenges when people joined from other social and linguistic backgrounds to worship Jesus. After many years church is fragmented for more reasons like theology and traditions, nationalism and racism. Some prefer formal service and others informal; hymns or choruses or orthodox and liberal. Church is divided on several issues.


Diversity is not to be hated and ignored but to be celebrated because diversity is divine and it is His order in progress. Diversity is not divisiveness but diversity is designed by God to bring richness and creativity. It is not to bring confusion and conflicts. When people from different tribe, tongue, nation and people believe, worship God and live together in a harmonious manner it brings the blessings of the Lord upon the earth (Psalms 133).


Therefore, unity in diversity in a Church is extremely critical. Jesus prayed three times (John 17:11, 21, 22) for his disciples and for ones to follow.


How can we maintain unity in diversity? Here are ABCDE to grow in unity in diversity in a church.

Acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the unifying factor. When every Christian acknowledges Jesus by growing in a love relationship with Christ and in obedience to His will, the Holy Spirit builds unity in the church. Man cannot generate unity but the Holy Spirit the third person in the Trinity helps us to grow in unity as we focus on Jesus (John 16:13; Acts 2). 

Bear with one member. Two persons can react to a same situation in different ways, because of their culture, tradition and perceptions. As we walk by the Spirit of God He enables us to bear with one another even when they behave differently (Ephesians 4:1-3; Galatians 5:25-6:2). Once we acknowledge the uniqueness and walk in love with others in the body of Christ, over a period of time we will witness a confluence and a spirit of unity prevailing in the church.


Confess basic Biblical doctrines. Often we confuse uniqueness and individual freedom with liberty to interpret what the Bible says. Ephesians 4: 4-6 puts it aptly, “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with oneness.” (The message). Turning away from this gospel truth would open doors for divisive spirits to work in a Church.


Demonstrate love – Love is the glue that brings and keeps people together (Ephesians 4:2, 15,16; Col 3:14. I Corinthians 13. Demonstrate love God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit especially with those who are different than you in the Church. 


Exercise God given gifts. God has given gifts to each one of us as we received His grace (Ephesian 4:7). Paul outlines some of the gifts people have as Christians: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, teaching, administration, service, encouraging, leadership, etc. (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-12, I Corinthians 12) they are to be exercised by faith to build the Body of Christ, the Church. When more people faithfully exercise their spiritual gifts in love we build unity in the Church (Ephesians 4:13-16).


Unity is not created by Christians but it is preserved by every Christian by keeping the above factors. This is to be diligently pursued by an attitude of humility. Our humble spirit should be demonstrated by gentleness and graciousness in our dealings with others (Ephesians 4:1-16).

God has expressed His nature of diversity through His universal Church. Each diversity you find in the body of Christ is an invitation for us to celebrate the fullness of Christ. The fullness of Christ’s image comes into focus when we unite the diverse parts without destroying their uniqueness. When we all lose ourselves in Christ we will find ourselves one with each other, expressing our particular diversity. This kind of unity will result in reflecting the unity of Triune God. Ultimately unity in diversity of the Church is the means for us to be witnesses of Christ and for God to bring His glory upon this earth.   


St. Augustine of Hippo said “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity”.


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