Unity And How To Maintain It

The unity of a congregation is a precious and priceless commodity. In Psalms 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” By contrast, there are seven things that the Lord hates, and the last one mentioned in Proverbs 6:17 is, “. . . he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Let us look at some ways we can keep the unity of a congregation and prevent the sowing of discord.

1. Do not poll the elders. That is, do not seek out one elder at a time and ask him his opinion. In going from one elder to another, much may be missed and mistaken in translation. After all, if the idea is to be implemented, then, all the elders should act on it. In doing this, it is easy to pit one elder against another elder. This can cause confusion and divisiveness.

2. Do not politic the elders. That is, do not try to influence them one at a time in order to make a point. Playing favorites and showing a respect of persons is a lack of Christian insight.

3. Do not presume upon the elders. That is, do not try to speak for them. We may think we know how one would react in a certain situation, but remember Paul told Philemon, “But without thy mind would I do nothing.” (Philemon 4).

4. Do not try to pressure the elders. That is, do not try to influence their decisions through our money, popularity, prestige or otherwise. If pressure must be exerted in order to get an elder or the elders to function, then, surely another look needs to be taken at whatever we desire to do.

5. Do not be presumptuous. That is, do not assume the elders should do this or that, and then take it upon ourselves to do it. Trying to act in their failure to act, implies that we already know their minds, and they would have acted in this way.

Consider these positive things that will insure peace and harmony in a congregation.

1. Give the elders time for their wisdom to be effective.

2. Give them some room for their opinion and realize it might not agree with ours.

3. Make sure we give our ideas a thorough examination before we submit them to the elders.

4. Remember that God ordained that a local congregation should work through an eldership.

5. Encourage the elders in their work.

6. Pray for them.

Meditate earnestly upon these passages: Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7;Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-4.

If we will season our speech with salt and love one another with a pure heart fervently, we will keep the unity of the Spirit for which Christ Jesus our Lord prayed. (Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:22; John 17:20-23).

Bill Graddy

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