God Himself is a relational partnership of three in one – perfect, unified and effective.
The model He has given us is family – Father and Son. We are made in His image and therefore designed to work in the same way – in a relational partnership that is perfect, unified and effective. We become children of the Father and Jesus becomes our brother, and we are offered the same standing and inheritance as Jesus. We are all uniquely made, called and gifted but we all have the same Father and share the same inheritance. Paul often used the analogy of the body to show how important it is for its parts to work together, with an understanding that each part is wonderfully different…but united in its purpose.
Christians – especially churches – tend to hold up as important in any unity discussion is theology/doctrine. While this may help us to some extent in our understanding of God and our faith, it is merely interpretation and is used as a tool of division more than unity. Paul tells us that our unity is of the Spirit, which is what we all share and is directly of God. This is where we place our focus – the unity of the Spirit, not theology or doctrine; we want to focus on what unites not what divides.
A line does have to be drawn somewhere but not on every matter of belief, just the key areas that count:
• Trinitarian God
• Faith only through Jesus
• Spirit works today through fruit and gifts
• Scripture is true and God-breathed – He is not a liar nor does He say what He doesn’t mean
• God is able to do all things – nothing is impossible – and He chooses to do it in partnership with us, His children
We don’t need to delve into other aspects of faith expression etc. because they aren’t important enough to warrant division. The points above should be sufficient for a lasting relational partnership between every Christian and fellowship.
Now that’s all said and out of the way, how do we practically work together in relational partnership? Unity is not uniformity nor living in each other’s pockets! It is, however, honouring and preferring one another, encouraging each other in what we are called to, it is releasing, bearing with and forgiving each other, it is celebrating one another’s victories and recounting their testimonies, and it is respecting one another in the midst of differing ideas.
With that as the backdrop it is coming together when appropriate and partnering in our common purpose and strategies – both jointly and independently.
We invite you into a partnership; not so much with ‘us’ but with everyone who desires to partner for the Kingdom. We’re not simply looking for your relationship to grow with us; it’s just as important that your relationship grows with everyone else who is connected in.
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