By Eric Rochester, Kansas City Mobilizer, American Bible Society,
and Executive Director, The Sending Project
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
[Jesus prays for his disciples:] “I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.”
In today’s focus Scripture, Jesus prays for his disciples and for those who would become believers in him through their witness. Notice that Jesus doesn’t pray for unity just for the sake of having unity. He prays for unity so that the world would know that God the Father sent Jesus, and that God loves them as much as he loves Jesus. I would imagine that Jesus is still praying that prayer today! And he wants us to be a part of the answer to this prayer.
In the Kansas City metro and surrounding area, there are many local congregations, but I believe there is one church – the citywide Church of KC. The Bible references the church within a city multiple times: for example, the Church of Jerusalem and the Church of Antioch. What about the Church of KC?
I believe there is correlation between the level of unity within a citywide church and the amount of impact it will have on the city. The more unity, the more advancement of God’s presence in the city.
How would you describe the Church of KC? Limping? Disjointed? Uncoordinated? More than ever, the Church of KC needs to reflect the character of God. What better way to do that than for churches to embrace the diversity within the citywide body of Christ, and pray and help each other experience Jesus’s love and compassion as his first disciples did.
Imagine a citywide Church of KC that is highly coordinated around Jesus and his mission…reaching toward its full potential. How beautiful that would be! Imagine the various denominations and ethnic groups working well together in efforts to share the love and message of Jesus. This would be an answer to Jesus’s prayer. More people in the KC area would know that God the Father sent Jesus and that the Father loves them as he loves Jesus!
Yes, great things are already happening in and through the various local churches and ministries of KC, but I believe we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If we want our city to experience a greater realization of the love of God, then we must take Jesus’s prayer for unity seriously and be a part of the answer to it.
Practically, this means churches serving together, followers of Christ focusing on Jesus and his mission more than theological differences, and intentionally spending time developing relationships with those who are different from us.
Identify a few Christ followers who are not a part of your church, and invite them to join you in praying about how you could serve the Lord together. Commit to following where the Lord leads.
Lord, may the diverse citywide Church of KC grow in love and encourage one another. Please help me to be a part of the answer to your prayer for perfect unity within the body of Christ.