This is what Jesus prayed for the church of the future:
“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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV)
As Jesus faced the agony of the cross, it is striking that he prayed for unity amongst believers:
“…that all of them may be one…”
“…that they may be brought to complete unity.”
Jesus didn’t pray for church growth, revival, great gifts or strong theology; he prayed for unity. My sad observation is that we – the church in general – have a way to go to be the united people that Jesus desires.
Ironically, Jesus’ expected outcome of unity is surely our desire too:
“…so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
“Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Surely all churches would like to see more new converts? Surely we want to see faith in Jesus being expressed all over the world? Yet our conversations on “advancing the Kingdom” often lead to subjects like evangelism methods, church growth strategies, trends and leadership models.
Maybe we need to talk more about unity?
Why not talk to somebody about unity today?
Why not do something to develop church unity today?