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Christ is Risen … and so are we!

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail. …There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843, Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost.)

Charles Dickens begins his classic story of the Christmas transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge by emphasizing the deadness of his partner, Jacob Marley. Understanding that Marley was “as dead as a doornail” is essential in Dickens’ mind, for his readers to be wonderfully impacted by the story he is about to unfold. If you don’t know that Marley is dead, then you won’t be shocked and amazed when he mysteriously appears.

In a similar way, there is a foundational truth that needs to be distinctly understood by those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ in order for us to fully appreciate and be wonderfully impacted by what has been accomplished in our lives. We need to understand with absolute clarity our condition prior to placing our faith in Jesus.

Read the following verses and see if you can identify the key truth.

  • “… death came to all men, because all sinned” Rom 5:12
  • “For the wages of sin is death” Rom. 6:23
  • “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Eph. 2:1
  • “When you were dead in your sins …” Col. 2:13

It’s not hard to spot, but have you allowed the reality of your condition without Christ to sink in? You weren’t simply spiritually sick or suffering from spiritual malnutrition or in need of spiritual rehab. You were dead! Spiritually dead. There was absolutely nothing you could do to correct your situation. No amount of moral improvement could possibly address your need before God. As Dr. Howard Hendricks frequently said, “Our need was total, not partial.”

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a spectators gallery, overlooking an operating room in a prestigious University Medical Center. Lying on the stainless steel table under the sterile fluorescent light is a corpse—cold and lifeless.
Surrounding the table is a team of doctors. They are the brightest minds in the medical world. Each has unsurpassed expertise in a particular field. This is a medical dream-team.
The question at hand is “How can life be restored to this lifeless body?” There is a sense of excitement in the room over the possibility of witnessing a medical miracle. This may not be your area of training but you are mesmerized by what you are seeing.
One by one the experts begin to make their recommendations. The first doctor says, “I believe this patient needs to strengthen his heart and should begin a cardiac rehab program immediately.” The next doctor says, “The lung function is definitely diminished. I prescribe a change of climate and intensive respiratory therapy.” Yet another doctor, a world-renowned nutritionist says, “This patient is suffering from severe malnutrition. He needs to begin an enriched diet of protein, minerals and vitamins.” An expert in exercise physiology says, “This patient has poor muscle tone. He needs to begin a rigorous program of physical therapy and exercise.”
The rest of the medical students seated around you are nodding their heads in thoughtful agreement and feverishly taking notes of the doctor’s medical wisdom and insight.
You can’t believe your ears! You’re looking around in disbelief. Are these people crazy? The closest you may have come to attending Medical School is eating in the cafeteria, but you know that what these doctors are prescribing is ridiculous. You can’t restrain yourself. You stand to your feet and yell at the top of your lungs, “The man is dead!”

The Bible is declaring the same message regarding our fallen condition. Because of sin, mankind is spiritually dead! The need isn’t for changed behavior, it is for new life to be imparted. Telling a spiritually dead person to engage in good works in order to become spiritually alive is like telling a corpse to eat the right foods and exercise in order to regain physical health. The only remedy is for spiritual life to be given from a source outside ourselves!
It is only when we realize the severity our hopeless, lifeless condition without Christ that we can begin to appreciate what He has done for us with a sense of joyful awe and wonder.

  • “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6
  • “God made you alive with Christ” Col. 2:13
  • “… offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life …” Rom 6:13
  • “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Col. 3:1

The wonderful reality is that Christians have been raised from the dead in union with Jesus. We are risen people! Dr. Ravi Zacharias says it this way, “Jesus did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.” Having placed our whole reliance upon Jesus and His death and resurrection, we are now the grateful possessors of eternal life. Our sins have been forgiven, the righteousness of Christ has been credited to our ‘life account’ and the personal presence of God dwells within us.

Many Christians live each day of their life without knowing the reality of who they are in Christ or being aware of what God has wonderfully accomplished on their behalf. Observe Paul’s passionate desire for some believing friends he loved:

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

– Ephesians 1:18-20

A calling of hope, a rich, glorious inheritance from God and incomparably great power— did you wake up mindful of those realities in your life today? Notice that the power Paul identifies as being at work in believer’s lives today is “like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” (Eph. 1:20)

As Christians, we have been the recipients of resurrection power! We are risen people, and the church is the fellowship of the risen! As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Easter it is completely appropriate for us to affirm, “Jesus is risen … and so am I.” But we have not only been given resurrection life. There are also a multitude of blessings that are ours because we have been raised with Christ through faith.

Consider these examples:

  • We have received the righteousness of God (Rom. 3:22)
  • We have died to sin and been set free from its rule in our lives (Rom. 6:7, 22)
  • We have died to the demands of the Law, being released from its condemnation (Rom. 7:4-6; 8:1)
  • We have received the indwelling presence of God (1 Cor. 3:17; 6:19)

The list could go on. Peter writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

To live the Risen Life is to be awakened to the reality of what God has accomplished on our behalf. Every Christian has been spiritually raised from the dead by the same resurrection power that raised Jesus on Easter morning. Realizing this wondrous truth, we are then called by God to live our lives in keeping with the reality of who He has made us to be in Christ.

  • Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life – Rom. 6:13
  • Live a life worthy of the calling you have received – Eph. 4:1
  • Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ – Phil. 1:27

The Risen Life: walking in the reality and power of Christ’s resurrection and allowing these extraordinary truths to inform and fuel our faith, is the distinctive calling and privilege of every individual that has placed their faith in Jesus.

The Church, the Fellowship of the Risen, is to serve as a united resurrected community to raise the dead spiritually through the power of the gospel (Evangelism), equip the risen with the liberating and empowering truths of God’s Word (Discipleship), and mobilize a resurrection generation to spread the transforming news of hope that because Jesus Christ is risen … they can be too!

In these strategic days, as Christ’s return draws ever closer, God is awakening his Church to their identity as Resurrection People and their calling to live for Him as those who have been brought from death to life (Rom. 6:13).

If Charles Dickens were writing about the Risen Life, he might well say:

“We were spiritually dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. God declares it, scripture reveals it, and our sinful behavior confirms it. There is no doubt that we were spiritually dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the resurrection story that scripture relates.”

Tracy Weaver serves as the Executive Director of City Church Unite, a nonprofit ministry devoted to uniting the Church to transform the city.

CCU Blog

Are You A Church Paradigm Pioneer?

What Is A Paradigm?

A “paradigm” is a typical example, model, or pattern of something. Our lives are guided by our paradigms. They act as the set of rules in our mind that define the boundaries of our perception of reality and tell us how to behave inside those boundaries to be successful. Paradigms influence everything from the way we make our bed in the morning, to the way we conduct business, to the political candidates we support.

A Paradigm Story

WatchFor 60 years the Swiss dominated the world in watch manufacturing. They were first in the watch-making industry with no one in close second. Then, something happened.  A paradigm shifted.  Their market share dropped from 65% to less than 10%.  What happened? The digital quartz watch. Suddenly Swiss excellence in manufacturing gears and mainsprings was irrelevant. Fifty thousand Swiss watch makers lost their jobs and the nation faced an economic crisis. The ironic part of this story is that the digital watch was invented by the Swiss themselves. Their decision makers, however, couldn’t envision a world without gears and mainsprings so they didn’t even protect the new technology. The new invention was picked up by Seiko of Japan and the rest is history.

The Paradigm Effect

Our paradigms define our view of reality.  A Paradigm Shift is the introduction of something new that changes the rules and brings everyone “back to the drawing board.” Because we see the world through our paradigms they can blind and deafen us to other possibilities, other paradigms. This is referred to as the “The Paradigm Effect.”  The quartz watch was a Paradigm Shift.  The Swiss were blinded by the effect of their “watch” paradigm and could not envision a world without gears and mainsprings. 

The Paradigm Question

Joel Arthur Barker, and expert in paradigm dynamics, suggests the following question to begin pressing paradigm boundaries:  “What is impossible to do in your organization today, but, if it could be done, would fundamentally change it for the better?”  Your answers to this question in any given area of endeavor will begin to point you toward a new future of what could be.

Paradigm Pioneers

To be a Paradigm Pioneer you must have the courage to risk releasing an old paradigm and envision what the future could look like with the new paradigm actively in place.  So here’s a key question for Christians and especially Christian leaders: What is your paradigm of “church” and are you open to a Shift?  We all have a paradigm of Church.  Our paradigm includes our ideas of what we should wear to church, what a church building looks like, what kind of songs should be sung, and the role of pastoral leadership.  However, if you ask yourself the paradigm question (see above) regarding “Church”, then what might God want to initiate in your city that could result in remarkable spiritual transformation and visible unity.

A New Paradigm of Church

Allow me to suggest a biblical idea that I invite you to study, pray about, and dialogue with others.  Here goes – Jesus’ ecclesiology is far different from what we typically see in our churches today.  Jesus’ ecclesiology is focused on a cohesive expression of his family that is influencing and transforming cities … together.  

Consider these New Testament truths:

  • Jesus fervently prayed that his followers would be “one”, even “perfectly one” so that the world would know and believe (John 17:21-23).  In this passage, Jesus directly links the effective accomplishment of the Great Commission (knowing and believing) with the visible unity of his followers.
  • The Apostle Paul directed the majority of his epistles to all the believers within a city or region. “To all those in Rome” … “To the church of God that is in Corinth” … “To the churches of Galatia” (a region) … “To the saints who are in Ephesus” … ‘To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi” … “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” … “To the church of the Thessalonians.”  Therefore, all the imperatives to love, honor, be kind, forgive, forbear, be devoted to, etc., are incumbent on all the believers to one another within the city and not simply to their local gathering.  Paul addressed the “Church of the City”.
  • We typically apply Paul’s “body” metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12:20-22 to our congregation, stressing our individual need for each other – “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you.”  But since this passage is directed to “the Church of God that is in Corinth” a more accurate application needs to include clusters of believers or congregations not being able to say to another congregation “I have no need of you.” First Conservative Church can’t say to First Charismatic, “I have no need of you.”  Jesus’ vision for his Church is a movement characterized by visible unity within the context of an entire city or region.
  • The metaphors of the Church in the New Testament all speak of one cohesive Body – Christ’s Bride, Christ’s Body, One Temple, One Man, and One Loaf.  Paul exhorts all the saints in Philippi to be “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).
  • All Seven Letters in the book of Revelation are written to the City Church and not simply a single congregation within the city.

Jesus makes it clear that he only speaks and does what the Father directs (John 12:49-50).  The core value of Jesus for the oneness of his followers, therefore, reflects the heart of the Father.  The implications of this are profound.  Our Lord’s desire must become the priority of the Body of Christ.  The Church must pursue and embody the prayer of our Lord for the visible unity of his followers.

The strong implication of these passages (and many more) is that the Lord’s under-shepherds, as stewards entrusted with the care of the saints, must play a vital leadership role toward breaking free of established cultural norms (old paradigms) and pursuing Christ’s call to supernatural unity and visible witness.

Email logo draftCity Church Unite exists to serve as a supportive catalyst in the lives of leaders and churches to nurture the oneness and vitality of the Church of the City.  Pastors play a strategic role of embracing and modeling Christ’s heart for the unity of his people in the Church of the City (the broader Body).  Their Church family and ministry peers will be influenced by their example.

Are You A Church Paradigm Pioneer?

Remember the Paradigm Question – “What is impossible to do in your organization today, but, if it could be done, would fundamentally change it for the better?”  The idea of a unified Church of the City – congregations devoted to one another and working together to spiritually transform their community – challenges our strongly established paradigm of Church.  We are all deeply influenced by our independent, western culture.  Don’t be surprised, therefore, if you sense a natural resistance within yourself (see the Paradigm Effect above).  We can think of many reasons why “it will never work.”  However, if the Holy Spirit began a movement of reconciliation and extraordinary love among Christ’s followers and The Church became a redemptive source of healing and unity in broken, angry, and fragmented communities … just imagine the Kingdom impact!  The ultimate question, of course, for all of us as members of Christ’s body is “What does God’s word call us to do?”  I invite you look at the passages, consider the implications, and ask the Lord of the Church if this truly is the desire of his heart for his followers.  -TW

Father, We realize that we have deeply embedded ideas about what your church is and what it should look like.  We affirm that our primary commitment, Lord, is to you and your word.  We want to be willing to release false assumptions and courageously embrace a new vision of your church if we clearly see it in your inspired word.  Grant us faith, wisdom, clarity, and courage to be paradigm pioneers.”  -Amen

For further reading:

City Church: Working Together to Transform Cities by Kelly Malone

A Disruptive Gospel by Mac Pier

This blog article is part of a 31 day devotional entitled 31 Days of City Church, currently under development by City Church Unite.  We value your comments and questions.

 

CCU Blog

Anne Graham Lotz – Church Awaken!

At Billy Graham’s funeral on March 2, 2018, Dr. Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz gave a challenge for the Church to awaken to the urgency of its role in society in light of Christ’s soon return. City Church Unite exists to unite the Body of Christ as a catalyst toward spiritual awakening. We invite you to watch Anne Graham Lotz’s comments and invite God to speak to your own heart about the role you are to play.

CCU Blog

EnVision The Church of Santa Clarita

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EnVision The Church of Santa Clarita, California

(This essay was written with Santa Clarita, California, in mind.  As you read it, however, I invite you to prayerfully seek God’s heart on behalf of your community. I believe Jesus is stirring his Church toward a renaissance of spiritual vitality, visible unity, and citywide transformation.  This vision isn’t only for Santa Clarita, but for your community as well.)

From art, to fashion, to entertainment, to social trends … it is widely recognized that California influences the world. Because of Santa Clarita’s strategic location and close proximity to Los Angeles, the city of Santa Clarita (the Santa Clarita Valley) is poised to have a remarkable influence in its local context and beyond. What is true of the city is true of the Church of the city.

If you were to take a few minutes before the Lord and ask Him, “What do You envision for the Church of Santa Clarita?” – what impressions do you think His Spirit would place upon your heart? (I encourage you to try this exercise and write down your thoughts). Here is what came to my mind:

  • A strategic city where the Body of Christ has embraced its unified God-designed relationship of love and honor under Christ as its Head (Eph. 1:22, 4:15, 5:23; John 17).
  • Church families (congregations, fellowships, and missional communities) that are walking in relational health and spiritual vitality with Christ, their leadership, and with one another.
  • Churches that are devoted to enhancing Christ’s Kingdom beyond their local expressions by providing ministries and services to build and strengthen the broader Body of Christ and bless the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.
  • A unified Church of Santa Clarita that is being used as a strategic tool to recapture one of the greatest priorities of Christ’s heart – the collective unity of His people to impact the world.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. – John 17:20-23

  • A Collective City-Church that is “seeding” a movement of fresh expressions (forms) of God’s people gathering for worship, evangelism and equipping throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
  • A City-Church that is impacting the marketplace by equipping God’s people with the vision and skills to fulfill their calling to be His representatives in the workplace.
  • A City-Church that, by virtue of its radical obedience to Christ, is reaching and inspiring a new generation of Christ followers to boldly live for His glory in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.
  • A City-Church that, by virtue of its compassion and gracious spirit, is catalyzing a movement of collaborative service with non-profit organizations, the marketplace, and city structures to bless and transform the city.
  • A City-Church that God graciously uses to have an influence and impact for the gospel far beyond its capacity and resources.

For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth” (1 Thess. 1:8)

A vision like this can only be realized by the grace and empowerment of God. It will need Pastoral Leaders who have embraced Christ’s desire for His people to live and serve as one – even as He and the Father are one (Jn. 17:21).   It will require leaders who have not yet been developed and the gifts and passions of Christians who have not yet embraced the Savior. It will call for faith to trust God for what cannot be seen, and necessitate stepping beyond our comfort zone. It will demand our total devotion to Jesus and His Kingdom, realizing that we may only serve as stepping-stones to its ultimate fulfillment. I believe this vision for the collective Church of the city is an expression of Jesus’ heart. I can’t think of anything more thrilling than partnering with Him in the pursuit of such a vision. – Tracy Weaver, February 2018

CCU Blog

Honoring Billy Graham

BG Facebook Memorial Cover

“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins,”  – Billy Graham at his final Crusade in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York.

In 1934, at a revival led by traveling evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham, 15-year-old Billy Graham committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. No one was more surprised than Graham himself.

“I was opposed to evangelism,” he said. “But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]…and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, ‘Lord, I’m going.’ I knew I was headed in a new direction.”

Billy Graham held his first official evangelistic Crusade in 1947; but it was his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that captured the nation’s attention. Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the “tent meetings” were extended for a total of eight weeks as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children gathered to hear Graham’s messages.

I was born in 1957. I am a poster-child Baby Boomer. For my generation, Gen X’ers, Millennials, and what some are calling the Silent Generation … Billy Graham has had a cultural “presence” our entire life.

My Billy Graham Story

Life Cover Explo '72I placed my faith in Jesus as an 8 year old at Hume Lake Christian Center. In the summer of 1972, Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) held a student congress in Dallas, Texas called Explo ’72. It was the summer before my sophomore year of High School and I begged my Mom and Dad to let me go. Would you let a 15-year old adolescent travel half way across the country? They said, “We’re going to let you go … and we’ll pay for two of your friends to go with you.” Their decision changed my life. That summer Dave Edwards, Roger Kemp and I boarded a bus in Fullerton, California and headed for Dallas. The week long conference was filled with training seminars on discipleship and evangelism in venues all across the metroplex. Each night was capped off with a giant gathering of High School and College students at the Cotton Bowl.

Cotton Bowl 72

Billy Graham in Dallas Explo 72On the final night of Explo ’72, 80,000 students packed the Cotton Bowl with a sense of expectation for what the speaker would share. The speaker was Billy Graham. He passionately declared the gospel and extended an opportunity for those who didn’t know Christ to place their faith in Jesus. But Billy Graham didn’t stop there. He issued a call for everyone in the Cotton Bowl that night to commit themselves to full-time Christian ministry. He charged those 80,000 representatives of their generation to take up the cause of Christ and give their lives to the advancement of His gospel and His Kingdom. I stood up that night with tens of thousands of students, my two friends included, and committed myself to serving Christ no matter the cost. God used Billy Graham to galvanize my calling to be a minister of the gospel.

Today, February 21, 2018, Billy Graham stepped into the presence of the One he had been pointing people to for over 75 years. He shed the hindrances of our fallen world and is more alive now that any of us can possibly imagine.     -Tracy Weaver

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:54

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Christ’s Desire For Unity

Blurred City cover

By Tracy Weaver

 The New Testament warns against placing any other authority over the authority of God’s word. Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees saying, “for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God” (Matthew 15:6). The gospel of Mark records a similar admonition, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (Mark 7:9). The Apostle Paul exhorts the Colossian believers to guard against being deceived by “human tradition” instead of living “according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

The word for “tradition” used in these passages is Parádosis – to hand over from close beside. It’s the idea of influencing behavior from one generation to another. A “Culture” can have the same effect as “tradition”. Culture can be defined as “the attitudes and behavior characteristics of a particular social group.” When we grow up within a culture, we assimilate the values and behaviors of that culture. They become so deeply embedded and naturally acted upon, its like breathing, we don’t even think about it. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to break free of a culturally embedded value or behavior. The Christian life, however, is all about becoming a person who chooses not to conform to this world but to be “transformed” by renewing our minds according to the will of God (Romans 12:2).

The growing concern on my heart is that our western Christian culture, with a high value of independence, has resulted in an over-emphasis on “our” local ministry and blinded us to our strategic participation with the broader Body of Christ within our community … the Church of the City.  Consider these New Testament truths:

  • Jesus fervently prayed that his followers would be “one”, even “perfectly one” so that the world would know and believe (John 17:21-23).  In this passage, Jesus directly links the effective accomplishment of the Great Commission (knowing and believing) with the visible unity of his followers.
  • The Apostle Paul directed the majority of his epistles to all the believers within the city or region. “To all those in Rome” … “To the church of God that is in Corinth” … “To the churches of Galatia” (a region) … “To the saints who are in Ephesus” … ‘To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi” … “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” … “To the church of the Thessalonians.” Therefore, all the imperatives to love, honor, be kind, forgive, forbear, be devoted to, etc., are incumbent on all the believers to one another within the city and not simply to their local gathering!
  • We typically apply Paul’s “body” metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12:20-22 to our congregation, stressing our individual need for each other – “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you.”  But since this passage is directed to “the Church of God that is in Corinth” a more accurate application needs to include clusters of believers or congregations not being able to say to another congregation “I have no need of you.” First Conservative Church can’t say to First Charismatic, “I have no need of you.”
  • The metaphors of the Church in the New Testament all speak of one cohesive Body – Christ’s Bride, Christ’s Body, One Temple, One Man, and One Loaf.  Paul exhorts all the saints in Phillippi to be “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).
  • All Seven Letters in the book of Revelation are written to the City Church and not simply a single congregation within the city.

Jesus makes it clear that he only speaks and does what the Father directs (John 12:49-50).  The core value of Jesus for the oneness of his followers, therefore, reflects the heart of the Father.  Our Lord’s desire must become the priority of the Body of Christ. The Church must pursue and embody the prayer of our Lord for the visible unity of his followers.

The strong implication of these passages (and many more) is that the Lord’s under-shepherds, as stewards entrusted with the care of the saints, must play a vital leadership role toward breaking free of established cultural norms and pursuing Christ’s call to supernatural unity and visible witness.

City Church Unite exists to serve as a supportive catalyst in the lives of leaders and churches to nurture the oneness and vitality of the Church of the City. Pastors play a strategic role of embracing and modeling Christ’s heart for the unity of his people in the Church of the City (the broader Body). Their Church family and ministry peers will be influenced by their example.

Don’t be surprised if, as you read this, there is a natural resistance in your spirit.  All of us are deeply influenced by our independent, western culture. The question, of course, for all of us as members of Christ’s body is “What does God’s word call us to do?”  I invite you look at the passages, consider the implications, and ask the Lord of the Church if this truly is the desire of his heart for his followers.

For further reading:

 City Church: Working Together to Transform Cities by Kelly Malone

A Disruptive Gospel by Mac Pier