Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you, that you may bear much fruit”. He goes on to pray, “Father I pray that they would be one as You and I are One”. Just as abiding (remaining) in Christ brings us into greater levels of fruitfulness, being one with each other, brings us into greater levels of Oneness with God, and thus greater levels of fruitfulness. Sometimes, working together in unity is the key to the increased fruitfulness we have been praying and longing for.
Unity is itself better fruit, which also produces more fruit. It takes a certain humility to work together in love, this draws the grace of God. Sometimes going alone isn’t just trailblazing, pioneering or spearheading, but it can be also be done from pride.
Perhaps one of the hardest challenges to working together with other leaders is learning to serve again, step aside, or not having the final say and being the person people are looking to for direction and answers. Perhaps you have a booming ministry and you don’t need to work with others to experience growth. However, Jesus wants you to bear even more fruit. No matter how big any one ministry is, Australia is getting further away from Jesus. We are not going to see our nation come back to Jesus if we keep working on our own, with our own little group. We need each other and our nation needs us to work together. Dare I say, the lost are counting on our unity, the very salvation of the souls of our loved ones is depending on us finding the courage to humble ourselves and work together.
So Jesus says, that by our unity the world will know that He is the Son and that the Father loves them (John 17:21-23).
What could unity look like
If the Body of Christ could work together then we could see the message go into a city. A couple of individuals could work together to get the gospel into every home. But more than just each person, to get the gospel into a city or a community there needs to be a momentum of people who are active missionally. A city or community has places, things and channels that are unique to that community; media channels and gathering places; newspapers, TV stations, stadiums, arenas. The community is impacted by the events and messages that are communicated through these channels and gatherings. To be able to communicate to the city effectively through these channels and events, there needs to be a certain momentum that the Body of Christ could obtain through unity.
We have not seen a major event that filled a large football stadium, for Jesus, in over 4 decades, yet there is enough Christians in any given major city to fill these large venues 5 times over. If the MCG, ANZ Stadium, Optus Stadium, Suncorp or the Oval where filled for a gospel event, it would be big news headlines. On top of that what if every Christian present went out and did an act of kindness in the name of Jesus, what if we reached every home with a gospel gift. Could we fill hundreds of billboards with the gospel, in just one city. Beyond just an event, what if we all wore a t-shirt that had the Word of God on it, put a wrap on our car, put a banner on our fence or a display in our shop front window. Now if a few individuals did this it would get some talk, but if a city of Christians decided to do that together, it would get the whole city talking about Jesus. If everywhere you go you saw a billboard or someone with a t-shirt or a banner, wrap, statue, display, monument or other creative way to communicate the Word of God, it would start to sow seeds that impact lives for an eternity.
History shows us…
In 1902, the churches in Melbourne united and door knocked their city at least twice with a personal invitation to a campaign. Stories tell us that the campaign changed their city. In 1959, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association mobilized a fair proportion of the church and in Sydney they door knocked about 2/3 of the city with a spiritual survey, and used that to springboard an invitation to a gospel event. This moment in Church history has gone down as the greatest revival our nation has ever seen, and it was through unity.
Two keys to city transformation through gospel campaigns
It was the Body of Christ working together that made these 2 campaigns more successful than the dozens of others that have been carried out over the last 120 years. Every weekend there are cities around the world that have large evangelistic rallies, often held in stadiums and arenas. But the reason they don’t all see city transformation is always the same – church and body engagement. It’s almost directly proportional. The two factors that will determine the long-term transformational impact is proportional to
- the amount of unity and preparation that goes into organizing the campaign and
- how long the campaign goes for – the more people over a longer time period, the bigger the result. The more work people do, the bigger the transformation.
The real question
The question is do we love our cities enough to lay down our inhibitions and work together to reach the lost, to reach those who do not have the love of Jesus nor eternal life…
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
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