A few weeks ago I was honoured to be the guest preacher at another church. As the service ended I realized that in one morning I had seen a great example of unity amongst different churches.
There I was, a Baptist pastor preaching the sermon at a Reformed church, which had moved their service up a half hour to accommodate an Anglican congregation that was using their building after them. And the Anglican congregation had their music being led by a Pentecostal pastor. Four denominations represented and working together in one building on one morning.
But unfortunately I think the average person, church attending or not, probably never sees the various ways that different churches work together and care for one another.
Working Together, Even If You Don’t See It.
In our city there is a pastors lunch every month that’s attended by pastors from various churches of different denominations from around the city. We eat, talk and pray for each other. And we discuss how we can work together to better serve God and our city. Most people don’t know it’s happening, but it is still unity.
On a larger scale there are churches that put out free resources, host conferences, and much much more for the sake of trying to help other churches, even ones that may be vast distances away.
There are also churches regularly giving money to help start other churches in their own provinces/states and in countries around the world every day.
Unfortunately for many people sitting in church on Sunday mornings there’s no easy way to see all of that.
Then Why The Differences?
One reason why there are so many different churches is simply that having different names helps identify each congregation. My church has basically the exact same beliefs as a number of other congregations in our city. But we have a different name because otherwise it would be confusing. Even when there are differences in belief for most denominations of Christianity we still agree on the vast majority of things.
It’s Not All Sunshine And Roses
I don’t want to oversimplify. There are some churches that do look at other churches as competition, if not enemies. And there are some groups that have beliefs so different that they at least can’t rightly be called Christian anymore, if not called a cult. But, at least in my experience, this is far from the norm.
My sermon that morning at the Reformed church was from a passage where Paul wrote about unity. From that passage 1 Corinthians 1:10 is a verse that touches my heart and leaves me with a desire for what we need to be aiming toward:
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
This post originally appeared on Huron Baptist Church where Bill pastors.