The North American Division has a wonderful strategic focus called Together in Mission. I love this focus and the emphasis on multiply, media, and mentorship as our way of going about our mission. But what I especially love about this focus is the word “together.”
For too long our church and its various departments have worked in silos. It’s time for us to come together and unify — and work together in mission.
Unity is important in the Bible. Thousands of years ago the psalmist sang a delightful song, and while we don’t know the melody or the tune, the words of this song ring as true and pure as gold. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). In John 17 Jesus prays a passionate prayer for His disciples to have unity. The apostle Paul counsels us to remember that the church is a body and each part is important; therefore he counsels “that there should be no division in the body” (1 Cor. 12:25). U-N-I-T-Y!
Why Unity Is Important
Unity is defined as the state of being one: a whole, or totality, as combining all its parts into one. The disciples did not have a history of working together in unity. Who’s going to be on the left side and who’s going to be on the right side? They bickered angrily.
They didn’t realize the importance of team: the idea that “together everyone achieves more.” Jesus wanted them to work together. He taught love, togetherness, and the importance of unity. He prayed earnestly that they would become one as He and His Father were one.
Perhaps the unity Jesus prayed for was not fully realized until the day of Pentecost came. And on this day, after being together for so long, the disciples finally understood what it meant to be in unity.
Promise, Potential, Power
Maybe this is where they learned that unity provides promise. They had been promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, so they gathered together to pray and look for that promise. Today, as Seventh-day Adventists, we too must pray and look for the promise: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thess. 4:16).
In unity, we can help realize this promise. In unity, as we share and preach the gospel to our friends and neighbors, we can help hasten the Second Coming and the fulfillment of this most precious promise.
Unity not only provides promise — unity unveils potential. As the disciples came together in unity, in that upper room, the potential unveiled, not only for the Holy Spirit to come and fill them, but for them to be able to speak in new languages and ways (see Acts 2:1-4). And with this new gift of diverse language and communication, they now had the potential to reach people from all walks of life with the good news of Jesus Christ. Unity unveiled the potential — language and culture does not have to be a barrier to reaching the masses for Christ.
Finally, unity unleashes power. After the unity of the upper room, the disciples, now empowered with the gift of the Spirit, were able to move, preach, and reach people for God with unprecedented power and unbridled creativity.
Do you want that kind of power? Do you want the Holy Spirit’s power to fill your church and empower you to reach your community for Him? It can happen when we are in unity! It can happen when we are working together in mission.