The Borough is so proud to showcase the amazingly innovative stuff that other Christians are doing around the country to unite the church and their city. The Prototype Series is a section on The Borough which highlights actual moves that our executive team is making to foster that same connection in our own community. We put our money where our mouth is.
There have been so many attempts at unity in the United States over the past few months. They have taken the form of marches.
The Women’s Marches on Washington and in large cities around the U.S. The annual March for Life. A march on Washington to protest Trump’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. And even a March 4 Trump.
Ironically, much of the time, political marches don’t bring unity, but rather further division. It is isolating to you if you disagree with the reason for the march, and probably makes you mad. And if you are participating in the march, it’s likely that you are already mad at the other political side.
I’m not saying that marches don’t get things done. They absolutely do. Look at the marches during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. They changed the world!
But when it comes to unity within the church, for Christians, we’re kinda talking about something different.
What Is Christian Unity?
Jesus said this:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
–John 13:34-35 (emphasis mine)
You see with political marches, the end game is to achieve a change in the political atmosphere. But with Jesus, the end game to the outside world is loving one another.
“Well, okay…” you might say, “what about cults? What about non-believers? What about other religions? They can all love. If love is the end game, then it’s not just about Christianity.”
Fair enough, but Jesus also said this:
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
So there are requirements for being Jesus’ disciples. Love is not the only requirement, even if it is the end game in our communities.
You see, I believe that we as Christians in the West in the 21st century have embraced centuries’ old divisions from scholasticism and the Enlightenment, which have no bearing on our time and culture. But we still let them tear the church apart.
We divide over the chronology of Christ’s return. We divide over the use of the charismatic spiritual gifts. We divide over predestination and election. We divide over denominations, even if the theology matches exactly.
But those issues neither affect the love we should share together, nor the mission of the church.With #Jesus, the end game to the outside world is loving one another. Click To Tweet
You see, the actual teachings of Jesus are centered around very different issues. Paul reveals what the church should focus on:
- Christ is revealed in the Old Testament all over the place.
- He died for our sins and rose again in the Gospels (in fulfillment of the Old Testament).
- He’s coming back to be King, Judge, and to restore all things.
- If you believe the first 3 points, then you will be saved.
- Holy living.
- Ordered families.
- Churches structured as Paul laid out (including brotherly love, edifying one another, good deeds, spiritual authority and leadership, the mission of the church in the Great Commission, etc.).
- Right relationships with those outside the church – government, nonbelievers, work, authorities, etc.
- A solid understanding of Satan’s attempts to thwart us.
And those are the main points of the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles. For more information about how I came to this list, check out this older article.
A March for Jesus – Unity across Denominational Divides
So how can we demonstrate the unity that Jesus called us to?
Well, there are a million things you could do.
In my context, out in Lawrence, KS, we are putting on a March for Jesus on May 4 (which is also the National Day of Prayer).
As discussed earlier in the article, marches tend to focus on changing the political landscape. But for this March for Jesus, we are focusing on the unity we have in Christ. We’re not trying to change anything politically.
The only thing we’re trying to change is the public perception that all the church does is bicker and fight. We want to demonstrate unity to our community. Unity around Christ and the brotherly love which comes with it.
We’re going to ignore the political and denominational divides that often break the church apart. Instead, we’ll show open arms toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. We know what unites us, and we’re choosing to focus on that for the event. And we’ll continue to foster it in the future after the event is over.#Jesus died for our sins and rose again in fulfillment of the Old Testament. Click To Tweet
It’s such an important goal that a ton of people are jumping on board in support of it.
A local pastor’s association which spans the whole city is actually endorsing the event as their National Day of Prayer event. Multiple worship teams from around the community will be performing. Many businesses have jumped on board to sponsor it financially (including The Borough!).
We have the city supporting us, too. They will be shutting down the traffic on the main strip downtown for the event, so that we can march silently in unity and in prayer. The police department will be escorting us, too.
It’s crazy that so many people in the city have come around this March for Jesus! With passion in our hearts for God, love toward each other, and humility toward our community, there’s no way this March can fail. If our God is for us, who can be against us?
We’ll spend time doing some praise & worship as a community of many churches. And praying together over different subjects – for our government leaders – city, state, and federal, for the mission of the church globally, for the good of our community, for the unity of our churches, and most importantly, for the glorification of Jesus in our city.
For those of you Lawrence, KS, readers – be at the gazebo at South Park off Massachusetts St. at 6:30pm on May 4, 2017. We’ll begin with praise & worship and prayer. Then at 8pm, we will march down Massachusetts St together. For more details about the event, please visit the March for Jesus’ Facebook event page.
Also published on Medium.