If you’ve been keeping up with my articles the past couple weeks, I have been trying to encourage our church to consider some questions. The answer to these questions can tell you a lot about the health of our church. And how we respond to these questions will determine the future of our church. First we asked, “Where are we going?” We tried to determine what the goal of Beck’s Baptist Church is. Next we asked, “Are we moving anywhere?” We tried to evaluate whether the things we accomplish here at Beck’s are pushing us towards that goal. Today I want to ask, “Are we working together?”
I’m a big fan of children’s movies. If Disney/Pixar makes the movie, then I have most likely seen it. And yes, as an adult, I will frequently watch children’s movies even if there are no children present. Don’t judge me. One movie that came out several years back was Finding Nemo. The premise was that a young clown fish, Nemo, goes missing and his father Marlin tries to find him. At the end of the movie there is a scene where hundreds of fish, including Nemo and Marlin’s friend Dory, have been caught in a fishing net that is slowly being reeled in. The fish are scared and confused and every fish is just wiggling and writhing in different directions. Fortunately, Nemo manages to convince all of the fish to work together and swim down in the same direction. They do and their efforts manage to break the fishing net loose and all of the fish are freed.
When the fish lacked unity they each tried to go in their own direction. They accomplished nothing and would eventually have been caught. But when they had the same goal (swimming down) and they were all moving in that direction, they managed to work together and free themselves. I think churches can be a lot like those fish in the net. Hundreds of different minds each with their own goal and their own direction. As such, nobody ends up working together and nothing gets accomplished. Meanwhile, Satan desires to destroy churches and he preys upon their confusion. Like the fisherman, his net is slowing being reeled in. He has successfully killed thousands of churches and he is looking for his next haul. The church that has a common goal and is moving towards that goal is a church that is unified. Satan will not capture this church.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “I appeal to you brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” If Paul were writing a letter to Beck’s Baptist Church today, I suspect he would put this same exact verse in. When everyone has their own separate goals, the church is in confusion, but with a united goal and a united movement towards that goal, God uses us as an unstoppable force to accomplish his will. The trick is, the church can only have one goal. This means that lots of people have to give up their goals, even if they are noble and godly goals, for the sake of agreeing on one Christ-centered, missions-minded goal. It’s a difficult step to take, but the resulting unity is priceless.
While the requirements for unity may at first glance seem restricting, it actually sets all of the fish free.