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Hello my readers. On twitter last week someone asked “Christians: What do you think are the biggest obstacles to unity in a local church?”  It got re-tweeted and between the original tweet and re-tweet there were some really thoughtful replies. Below I share some of them, ones that particularly jumped out at me or I especially agreed with… I am not sure how to link to the thread, but it was shared by @kylecarlson and @beardonabike The replies are from a variety of people:

♦Making unity (or anything other good thing) the goal, rather than Christ. A church whose common goal is Christ will have a better chance at unity than a community whose common goal is unity.

♦The false ideal that we need to agree on every minute detail theologically, politically, etc, to have communion.

♦Non-discipleship in how to process and actively engage the offenses we pick up. I estimate that Paul spent 32% of his letters doing this.
Someone replied: The offenses we pick up? Like when others wound us?
Reply back: Exactly! What do do when we are hurt? Do we attack or avoid? Do we have the skills and spiritual formation for a way beyond those natural responses?

♦1. Lack of transparency
2. Desire for growth (numbers) over growth (depth and discipleship)
3. Misunderstanding the difference between cultural differences, doctrinal differences, and moral differences
4. (maybe) Pastors that are too reliant on congregants for financial support
Someone replied: Say more about the transparency part.
Reply back: My opinion is people spend about half of their emotional energy trying to hide who they really are. Transparency, especially from church leaders, seems to breed trust with one another and relief to pastors who feel the struggle of “hiding” who they really are.

♦Depth. If you don’t know someone beyond the surface level you can’t truly love/help/encourage them the way then need. Shallow water stays stagnant. So do shallow relationships.

♦The assumption of unity without acknowledging our differences. “Of course we all believe X right?”

♦I don’t think contestants are looking for unity. They have their own circle of friends or family and not interested in widening the circle. Renders church service to a dose of weekly worship and feeding them go about busy lives.

♦People don’t know the difference between authenticity and impulsivity. You can’t tell someone they’re going to hell and then expect them to serve on your leadership team.

♦Denial/ignorance of division.

NOW BACK TO ME… I could create blog posts expanding on some of these thoughts. Actually, I have already blogged on some aspects! I will share continuing thoughts about “therapeutic communication” on Wednesday, so check back.