I cringe at even linking the two together in the title. Seems heretical and unneeded, I know.
However, over the last decade of working with and leading unity based initiatives, I have noticed a common trait between both pastors and Satan–they each are leery of Christian unity.
Now before you think I’m bashing pastors, let me explain as this post is quite the opposite.
Both Satan and pastors are leery (and discourage) unity among believers for one very good reason–they both understand the power of Christian unity.
However, they each have 100% valid reasons to discourage unity among believers.
For Satan, he understands the power of believers coming together. He knows the prayer of Jesus in John 17 for the Church to be ONE and the promise it holds that the world will know the love of God through Christ. He knows that all men will know that we are Christ’s disciples if we love and serve one another. He understands that the type of church that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against is the one holy, apostolic, and Catholic church. Therefore, because he knows the power of Christian unity, Satan has pretty much made it his mission to ensure that it never happens on earth as it already is in Heaven.
For Pastors, they are shepherds, gate-keepers, servants, and protectors of Christ’s Church. They too understand the power of Christian unity. They understand that believers united in love and mission are an unstoppable force that can change the world. However, they also know that if the power of Christian unity finds itself the WRONG hands, it can cause more damage, more division, and more discord among the Church. They also know that there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing who would love to wield the power of Christian unity for their own fame and fortune.
So, if you have a vision for seeing unity based initiatives in your city, give pastors a break and quit laying blame on them as being divisive, competitive, and disinterested in unity.
From my experience, most pastors don’t oppose or question unity-based initiatives because they are flat out against the concept. They question and push back on them because they understand, like Satan, the power these initiatives have. Therefore, as shepherds, they will not (and should not) flippantly support, endorse, or involve their flock in something just because it has the word “unity” or “one” in the title. They are NOT obligated to involve themselves in every unity based initiative that comes across their desk–and there are a ton these days. They SHOULD ask intelligent questions about these initiatives. They SHOULD ask deeply theological and ecclesiological questions. They SHOULD be suspicious of both the initiative and YOU. They SHOULD be a “hard sale.” They SHOULD frustrate you. They SHOULD have time to do their due diligence on you and your vision. They should want to know what you believe and why you believe it. They should check you at the door and not just welcome you (or your groups vision) into and among their flock just because you want to see believers come together.
They are doing their job–and I deeply respect them for that.