Unity In the Midst of Adversity
We celebrate the unity of Trinity Baptist Church, we care for and nurture it. As a result, we are free to live out our mission for bold ministry. Our recent Town Hall Forum and Business Meeting revealed our ability to engage significant issues with prayer, constructive conversation, and to move forward with smiles and clear purpose.
Our 21 new members in the last 4 weeks gives witness to our capacity to reach diverse audiences with the gospel’s unifying message. Our 3 campuses are distinctive from each other, yet unified by the purpose of doing Christ’s work in the world. Our financial health reflects our commitment to give toward a unified budget that has enough line items to support everyone’s Gospel interests. Our 100 plus ministries enables the spiritual gifts of our members to be involved in passionate and worthwhile work. Our faith family spawns friendships for every willing person. Our very name, “Trinity”, emphasizes God’s oneness in light of His magnificent diversity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
What holds together a family, a church, or a society? How do we build unity in light of dramatic human differences? Why is unity in the midst of diversity even important? At some point all of us may ask these questions and we each have to find answers that influence our behaviors. How we answer these questions reveals the kind of community in which we choose to live.
Here is why and how we are doing this important work of creating unity in the midst of diversity in the Trinity family.
- God’s unifying love is the force which calls us into unity and makes unity possible. We see this truth throughout the Bible, and clearly in our current study of Ephesians. For instance, 8 times in 3 verses Paul emphasized our oneness. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:4-6)
- Our bodies work together in light of many complex differences because God designed the organs, bones, nerves, and tissues to fulfill their purpose by working in harmony with all the other parts. Similarly, in Christ we form “a new humanity” which is the Church. We are designed for unity in the midst of diversity, e.g., I Cor. 11-4; Romans 12; Eph. 4. This systemic approach keeps us aware of how important everyone is to the whole.
- Mutual love and respect are essential to our unity. Sometimes the rub of our differences takes energy to absorb, which means we must be renewed by a resource greater than ourselves. That resource is God’s merciful love and the dignity of our being created in His image. We get tired when we are disappointed and discouraged, and this happens to all of us. But a mutual trust in God enables us to say, “Let’s learn. Let’s apply what we learn. Let’s encourage each other along the way.” This keeps our essential trust healthy.
- Vision, purpose, strategy, and participation keep us focused on our agreed upon priorities, and prevents us from being distracted by lesser things. This creates space where everyone can stand in their uniqueness, yet work towards a common end. This keeps us focused on what is essential.
- Communication is the life line which nourishes our understanding of each other. And as I have learned in my own family, communication is a constant need. Updates are always required. And everyone is responsible to help facilitate effective communication. Communication keeps us prayerful and interdependent.
It is my ongoing prayer and my energy is devoted to the commission we read in Ephesians 4:3:
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” We are doing it. Thanks be to God!